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Government officials, experts and MPs: Parliament must resume civil service reform

Kyiv, April 12, 2017.

 Tomorrow, April 13, the Verkhovna Rada will vote laws on civil service. There are four key draft laws: improving the law on civil service, bringing a number of laws into line with the current law on civil service, amending the law on service in local government and the law to provide the transition to strategic planning and evaluation of the effectiveness of executive bodies and senior officials. This was stated by Oleksandr Saienko, Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We held competitions, and we have winners. It is important to determine performance indicators, implement training and evaluation, and draw conclusions,” he believes.

There are obvious improvements as far as people are concerned, but the situation with processes is much worse. “We have developed a good competition mechanism; most state secretaries have been selected. The procedure is transparent; the list of documents is several times shorter. Those who wanted to come were able to do it. Previously, this was not possible,” says MP Aliona Shkrum. However, the processes in the civil service have not changed. “The Cabinet reform is lost, functions are duplicated, officials do not know what they are doing and what their objective is,” she added. The task is not to dismiss a certain percentage of people, but to optimize processes. “We should talk about processes and functions performed by employees. When we speak of functional analysis, we can say that we do not need a department. But, perhaps, we do not need one person carrying papers, as we will have e-papers. This is unfortunately sabotaged. There is a procedure of evaluation. It has not started yet. It should be professional and have specified criteria,” believes Ms. Shkrum.

Another problem is dualism of the executive branch. Draft law  6320 is to eliminate it. The draft law eliminates dualism of the executive branch, delimits the powers of the minister, his deputies and the state secretary. “It is clear who is responsible for what. Ministers and deputies are political figures. State secretaries are professional public managers whose activities cannot depend on the policy. The structure of the ministry is to be divided on functional grounds, not the way the leader wants. This is necessary for implementing the department’s policy and understanding who is responsible,” said MP Vladyslav Holub.

Tomorrow’s vote is an attempt to revive the civil service reform, which has slowed down since last fall. “The tempo has been lost; much of what had to be done was not. RPR has been expressing concern since March that the reform has actually stopped. It is necessary to intensify the government’s efforts. Other countries’ experience shows that civil service reform was never successful if the Prime Minister was not engaged in it personally,” said Ihor Koliushko, chairman of the Center for Policy and Legal Reforms, chief expert of the group “Public Administration Reform” of the Reanimation Package of Reforms.

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