Civil Service Reform Continues with Delays

News | Good Governance | Publications | Analysis 29 June 2017

Author: Saba Buadze

 

The Georgian civil service reform is one of the most important reforms in the field of governance. In addition to being a crucial part of the Georgia – EU Association Agreement, the reform represents a strategic goal of the Georgian Government’s Four Point Plan. However, during the course of reforms, several challenges remain that could negatively affect its successful and effective implementation.

 

Unfortunately, recent delays threaten the successful, effective and full implementation of the civil service reform. One of the most important parts of the reform was the adoption of the new Law on Civil Service. In addition, according to the 2016 National Action Plan of the Association Agenda, legal acts prescribed by the civil service law should also have been prepared. Specifically, on December 21, 2016, a legislative amendment entered into force, postponing the enactment of the Law on Civil Service from January 1, 2017 to July 1, 2017. The inability to adopt necessary legal acts due to time limits was given as the reason for the postponement. Already in November 2016, IDFI criticized the violation of the timetable set by the law and urged the Georgian government to adhere to the deadlines. 

 

Only a few days before the law enters into force, the government has still not submitted to the Parliament draft law on Remuneration in Public Institutions and the Law on Legal Entities of Public Law. These draft laws are critically important for successful implementation of the civil service reform. [1] Moreover, these draft laws have not been presented by the Civil Service Bureau for public discussion, which is a problem.

 

The following legislative acts remain to be adopted:

 

- Government Decree on Defining the Needs for Development of Professional Civil Servants and Establishing Standards on Professional Development;

 

- Government Decree on Rules of Paid and Unpaid Leave of Professional Civil Servants.

 

The following acts remain to be initiated in the Parliament:

 

- Draft Law on Remuneration in Public Institutions;

 

- Draft Law on Legal Entities of Public Law.

 

On June 1, 2017, the Government introduced another draft law that sets the interim period of enactment from July 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, which is yet another delay of the reform. According to the proposed amendment, in the interim period, the law will not apply to civil servants employed in legal entities of public law, and the old system of calculating salaries would remain in force until adoption of a new system. This means that in most instances remuneration of public servants will still be determined by heads of institutions.

 

One more problem is related to conducting of functional review of  public institutions. Government of Georgia adopted the Civil Service Reform Concept in 2014, which among others, asked Central and local public institutions to conduct functional reviews, and the Civil Service Bureau determined as the coordinator of this process. The functional review would determine the primary and secondary functions of the public institutions and statuses of legal entities of public law and their employees. According to the reform concept, reform of the remuneration system and the adoption of a new Law on Legal Entities of Public Law should have been performed in consideration of the findings of these functional reviews. Besides defining roles within institutions, one of the main aims of the functional analysis is separating the functions between professional civil servants and assisting employees, which will help to define their status. Consequently, it is crucial to finish functional analyses, in order to prepare new laws envisaged by the reform.   

 

Unfortunately, the functional review process of public institutions with shortcomings. Namely, according to the 2016 report of the Civil Service Bureau, the initial analysis was conducted only in 10 central institutions. At the same time, these functional reviews were carried out before the development of principles and methodology, which was adopted on April 25, 2017 by the Decree of the Head of the Civil Service Bureau. For effective implementation of the process, it was important to approve the methodology and principles before conducting the review, which would have served as the basis for functional analysis in every institution. Moreover, findings of the functional analyses are not publicly available. 

 

To avoid another delay, IDFI calls on the Government of Georgia to ensure timely development of the legal acts prescribed by the Law on Public Service and guarantee wide public engagement in the process.

 

[1] The concept of the public service reform entails 10 directions, including the salary system and boundaries of public service.

 

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