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Government makes second attempt to reform civil service

Constantinos Petrides said the aim was to promote the most capable members

Three government bills on the reform of the civil service aspire to create a new culture and a more efficient organisation, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said Monday.

The minister presented the bills before the House finance committee, the administration’s second bid to introduce much-needed reform in the civil service, after a previous effort was rejected in parliament in 2016.

“Following intense consultations with parties and the unions, we have submitted the bills whose implementation I believe would ensure first of all a more efficient civil service, one where the most capable members will rise to positions of responsibility and the potential of nepotism in promotions will be restricted,” Petrides said.

The minister said there was no ideal system anywhere in the world but “with the good practices and in spite of the problems and resistance we met, we think we have delivered to parliament bills that in time … will create a new culture and a more efficient civil service.”

The bills introduce a new evaluation system for civil servants who will be graded between one and 10, instead of the current system where the majority are deemed ‘exceptional’.

They also provide for exams for those going for promotions, which will be contested by candidates across departments, something unions oppose.

“We believe this will afford a much better prospect of advancement to many existing able members but also a more efficient middle management position whose authorities are not technocratic,” Petrides said.

The mighty Pasydy union said it disagreed with inter departmental promotions, which, as a representative said, it had been thought more consultations would take place before finalising.

Petrides said afterwards that inter departmental promotions were a huge change for the civil service, which also promoted mobility.

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