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‘Birth date, not performance’ decides civil service promotions

With the performance of almost all civil servants currently rated as ‘excellent’, their birth date appears to be the only criteria for promotions, the head of the House ethic committee Zacharias Zachariou joked on Wednesday.

The committee called for a new assessment system for civil servants, following their briefing by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on the matter.

Disy’s Zachariou said 93.1 per cent of public servants are currently rated as ‘excellent’, posing a serious problem when it comes to promotions.

“At the end of the day, what is left is their birthdate,” Zachariou said, adding that the state and MPs ought to take the political decisions necessary to create a modern assessment system in the public service which would provide the tools to the PSC to promote the most suitable people for the job.

“We need to realise that we are in 2018 and modernise,” he said.

A number of bills had been submitted in the past, he said, which have yet to be tabled in parliament. Even if all parties disagree on the bills, he said, “I think, they all agree on the necessity of modernising the assessment system.”

An objective assessment system can lead to an increase in productivity, which will benefit society

“We have trapped the best minds of the Cypriot society within the civil service and we are not motivating them to perform,” Zachariou said.

He added that the PSC is doing an excellent work on recruitment, on the basis of the law on evaluation and the requirement for written examinations, so that the best candidates are being chosen.

The head of the PSC, Georgios Papageorgiou, said that problems in the public service should be treated as a national issue.

Everyone should look seriously into why, while some of the best brains are being hired in the civil service, a few years later they are locked in a system that “inactivates staff, creates disincentives and does not allow them to perform”.

The debate on the evaluation system must be seen as a priority, he said. “We must find ways to get rid of it” and “to change the attitudes that have developed within the public service because of this very system.”

He made a plea to the competent state services, parties and the House to seek how to best overcome this situation.

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