The Plenary Session of the Parliament passed by a majority the laws concerning the evaluation and promotion of civil servants, including the interdepartmental promotion, in the context of the reform of the public service.
The relevant bills were initially submitted to Parliament in September 2015 based on the commitments contained in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the Troika on horizontal human resource management issues in the public service, and were subsequently withdrawn and re-submitted.
The MPs present from all parties except EDEK voted in favor, while in the second of the three legislations, the President of the Ecologists, Charalambos Theopemptou, abstained.
The purpose of the first law is to amend the Law on Public Service, in order to achieve the assignment to the Public Service Commission (SSS) the responsibility of monitoring the proper implementation of the evaluation system of civil servants, as well as the application of internal safeguards in all its procedures. EDY to ensure compliance with the formulas, legal framework and principles governing the selection of candidates.
The purpose of the second law concerning the evaluation of candidates for promotion, interdepartmental promotion and first appointment and promotion in the public service is the introduction of a new legal framework for the evaluation and selection of candidates by the EDY to fill the vacant positions of the public service, with the ultimate goal of selection of the most suitable candidates and the effective application of the basic principles of objectivity and meritocracy.
The purpose of the proposed regulations, which are adopted on the basis of Article 87 of the Law on Public Service, is the enactment of secondary legislation that regulates the evaluation process of civil servants on the basis of a new evaluation system, according to specific evaluation criteria related to skills , skills and work behavior.
In addition, arrangements are proposed for determining the suitability of the staff member for promotion or interdepartmental promotion, the stages and schedule of the annual evaluation, the categories of service reports, the case of drafting an adverse service report, the responsibilities of departments and the supervision of the implementation of the proposed system.
It is noted that from the interdepartmental promotions it was decided to exclude the employees in the Parliament, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Audit Service.
At the same time, the Plenary approved by a majority an amendment tabled by the MP of DIPA – Cooperation, Marinos Mousiouttas, which provides for the anonymous evaluation of the Heads of Departments by their subordinates, including those of indefinite employment, to become mandatory instead.
At the same time, other oral amendments tabled by EDEK, the Ecologists and DIPA were rejected.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonidis had proposed for the evaluation of civil servants from scale A7 and below to measure 15% of qualifications and 25% of experience, instead of 20% to 20% which is the ratio in the laws. Marinos Sizopoulos had proposed an exemption from the interdepartmental promotion of specific positions in the Ministry of Defense dealing with specialized issues and Charalambos Theopemptou the general removal of the provision for interdepartmental promotion and the possibility of recording oral interviews.
DIKO MP Chrysanthos Savvidis referred to Mr. Tryfonidis' amendment and disagreed, saying that in recent years many educated people with academic qualifications have been applying for low-level positions and that it is unacceptable to place more emphasis on experience than qualifications.
ELAM MP Sotiris Ioannou said that with the bills the narrow circle to which the public service is limited instead of shrinking is expanding and that the rusfetti and the convenience are not going to be beaten in this way but only by the suppression of partisanship. He also said that the current bills can not stand on their own as a reform and there will be no world-historic change in public service in relation to bureaucracy and public service.
In these reports, the Speaker of Parliament, Annita Dimitriou, stated that she hopes that in the battle of the ideal we will not lose the possible.
Environmentalist Stavros Papadouris said they are not 100% satisfied with what they will vote for, but a first step is being taken. He also pointed out that there are two-speed public and private sector employees and that this gap between the most vulnerable public and private employees should be bridged through entrepreneurship.
DIPA MP Marinos Mousiouttas said that the party is in favor of the institution of interdepartmental promotion, while he said that there has been enough improvement in the bills and there will be improvement in the public service, “it is enough to monitor the system to see if there are vulnerabilities and let's fix them “. Referring to his amendment, he said that he considers that the ability of the subordinate to evaluate the supervisor should be mandatory and anonymous, with the aim of improving the supervisor-subordinate relationship.
EDEK President Marinos Sizopoulos said that the reform should serve to reduce bureaucracy, increase productivity, ensure meritocracy in terms of promotion, transparency for promotions and recruitment, the climate of public confidence in public service and to have a real and significant reduction in its operating costs and to contribute to financial support and economic activity.
He added that the current laws do not meet these expectations and that the subjective factor regarding the evaluations and promotion of employees is significantly strengthened, that the bureaucracy and the dependence of civil servants on their superiors is increased. He stated that EDEK does not support the bills, since, among other things, the criterion of efficiency and productivity of the civil servant is absent.
DIKO MP Chrysis Pantelidis said that the specific laws are a step in the right direction, while other steps may need to be taken. He said that the majority of civil servants are both good at their jobs and hardworking and said that the greatest reform will be achieved if they themselves realize that the employer is not the state but every Cypriot who should serve.
AKEL MP Christos Christofidis said that the specific bills do not constitute a reform of the public service but regulate the evaluation and the interdepartmental promotions.
For AKEL, he said, reform is the changes in the structure, the reduction and elimination of bureaucracy, the enhancement of transparency in decision-making, the geographical decentralization, the e-government and the enhancement of productivity. At the same time, he added that AKEL will approve the bills that give weapons, however how they will be used depends on the political will of the respective Government. He also noted that the Parliament passed the legislation on the mobility of civil servants and witnessed the consolidation of Rusfet and favoritism.
DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou said that the reform of the public service as envisioned is not reflected in these bills. He added that the government is telling the Cypriot citizen that out of the 1000 things he had to do as a memorandum obligation from 2013, today he is doing one.
DIKO stated that it envisions a better, faster, simpler, more transparent and cheaper service to the needs of society. At the same time, he said that they will vote for the laws, assuring the rulers that the reform does not stop here.
Limassol MP Andreas Themistokleous said that a real reform would be if the public service answered citizens' phone calls tomorrow morning and responded in a better way and if too many civil servants stopped behaving like petty torturers and changed their mentality.
He also said that on a scale or higher, civil servants should be held civilly liable for the consequences of their actions. He also described as “cute” what DIKO reported, adding that during their rule the party appointed a series of public servants whenever it wanted with whatever criteria it wanted.
Responding, Ms. Erotokritou said that “it is well known who the cute ones are in this room”.
DISY MP Haris Georgiadis expressed satisfaction with the majority that was formed in favor of the bills, in order to carry out a very important step of modernization towards meritocracy and efficiency in the public service and thanked the parliamentary parties.
He added that this reform follows other important ones approved by the Parliament, such as the EU, the GESY, the National Guard, the mobility in the public service, etc.
Stating that they do not claim that the bills address all the problems, he said that a step is being taken, in parallel with the digital transformation and e-government. He added that DISY will not support the amendments, while even those who are excluded from the interdepartmental promotions that passed do not find them in agreement and do not know if they will stand constitutionally.