The civil service and public administration will undergo a barrage of reforms in 2018, many of which involve implementation of commitments agreed to with Greece’s creditors.

The government is determined to proceed with performance evaluations and thousands of transfers of civil servants to bureaus and services with greater staffing needs. The changes, according to a report in the daily Ta Nea, will likely lead to a shrinking of the bureaucracy and an elimination of superfluous positions.

Administrative Reform Minister Olga Gerovasilis, who is in charge of the reforms, told parliament recently that, “at the end of 2018, the public sector will look very different”.

At the beginning of the coming year, a Unified Human Resources Management System is scheduled to be in place. The system will evaluate performance, offer retraining, and manage civil service transfers in a wide-scale mobility plan.

The second series of performance evaluations, regarding work done in 2017, will start at beginning of the year and will be conducted electronically, a move that is expected to circumvent civil servants’ unions resistance.

During the first evaluation, which covered 2016, there was massive abstention from the process, following a strike declared by the civil servants’ umbrella union, ADEDY, in March of that year.

Meanwhile, on 15 December, the second cycle of transfers began, in the framework of the “Unified Mobility System”, and is due to be completed in February. There were 1,117 applications for 801 available positions during the first cycle. Over 1,900 employees took part in the process, with the largest number of applications from a single service, 125, coming from the Unified Social Insurance Fund (EFKA).

Job descriptions

For the first time ever, the reform process aims to draft job descriptions for civil service posts throughout the entire public sector. That will include municipalities and prefectures, as well as public law and private law legal entities of the public sector.

Employee training

Another key aspect of the effort to upgrade public services and performance will be employee retraining.

The administrative reform ministry will continue its cooperation with France’s renowned Ecole Nationale D’Administration (ENA).

In the context of Greece’s 2017-2019 National Strategy for Administrative Reform, the ministry in October sent 15 employees to Paris for training, and the programme will continue in 2018.

At the same time, in February, 2018, a pre-degree programme in public administration will be launched, following an agreement between the government and Greece’s Open University.

Top-level shake-up

Another radical reform is the planned meritocratic selection of civil service supervisors and bureau directors.

The evaluation of current directors and section leaders and the appointment of new ones are due to be completed by August. By March general directors will have been appointed.