More Decisive Steps are Needed for Public Administration Reform

There is a big gap between the identified problems of politicisation and undue influence on public administration recruitment and the absence of priorities and activities in the Draft Strategy for Public Administration Reform that would target those problems.

This was stressed in the comments submitted, by Institute Alternative within the public debate on 2022-2016 Draft Public Administration Reform Strategy. In order to address this gap, the objective of the Strategy for “professionalisation of public administration” should also include legal amendments and implementation of new rules, aimed at stripping the discretionary right during public administration recruitment, improved examination of prospective civil servants and more transparent reporting about the examination results, especially from oral interviews. Currently, the reporting is very scarce. The scope of improved rules from the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees should be extended to agencies and other independent regulatory bodies, as well as public institutions unless they are subject of the special laws due to their specific features.

We believe that without responding to these challenges, merit based recruitment and professionalisation of public administration remain out of reach and only serve as a declaration without the content in the Draft Strategy.

When it comes to optimisation of public administration, we think that without clear financial indicators, which would pave the way for reduction of public spending for gross salaries, labour contracts and other types of personal income, the key indispensible elements of optimization are lacking as a strategic objective.

We especially note that the analysis that follows plan “Europe Now” only indicates that expenditures, within the total gross salary fund, are increased for those employees who receive minimum wage in public sector (those who will be receiving 450 euro of net minimum wage instead of 240 euro).

“What is the number of employees who now receive less than 450 euro in the public sector, and how will the redistribution of net and gross salaries for other categories of employees be reflected in the total expenditures? These figures are missing, although they should be precisely presented, including both the baseline and target values. Only by doing so, the Government would be able to trace financial effects of the “Europe now” plan, but also of the interdependent public administration reform measures”, the comments read.

The Draft envisages a phased development of functional analysis of all public administration bodies, which would be the first such endeavour in an attempt to optimise public administration, and we believe that such approach is definitely needed.

However, it is necessary to include reduction of the number of employees in the largest bodies as an indicator following up the functional analysis. Otherwise, functional analysis can be an expensive effort, estimated at half a million euro, that will not lead to the expected results.

Also, although the Fiscal Strategy envisaged severance pay to employees who agree to leave public administration as a result of functional analysis, this measure is not reflected in the Draft Strategy for Public Administration Reform.

In the comments, we also pointed out the modest ambitions regarding the indicators which, among other things, measure the aims of reducing the duration of administrative disputes, increasing satisfaction with administrative services, decreasing the debt of municipalities and the costs of forced collection of litigation.

We also think that numerous analyses and trainings, which are included in the Draft, should have preceded the definition of strategic objectives, activities and indicators. Alternatively, they should be defined as a long term support to implementation of the strategy, and not its primary, integral part.

The comments submitted to the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media are available here.

 

Stevo Muk
President of the Managing Board

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