‘Defending the public sector is essential. We need to highlight its value without losing sight of the standards of efficiency and effectiveness’, said Spanish Minister of Territorial Policy and Civil Service Meritxell Batet in remarks today at ESADE. She was discussing the main challenges facing the civil service at the presentation of the Public Agenda Programme, which the school offers jointly with KREAB. According to Batet, the greatest challenge is the need to modernise the civil service. She pointed to several initiatives her team is currently rolling out to address it, such as a performance evaluation system and changes to the civil service recruitment system.
With regard to performance evaluation, Batet stressed that a performance-based productivity system can boost efficiency. She has called an inter-ministerial meeting in the next few days to assess the implementation of an employee evaluation system throughout the civil service.
As for the changes to the civil service recruitment system, in the coming days the ministry will hold a working group session at the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP) to review the current recruitment methods. ‘The memorisation aspects of the entrance examination cannot be eliminated, as they help to ensure a certain robustness in the training many civil servants receive. However, there are other important aspects’, Batet said. She has considered the possibility of inter-ministerial rotations of public employees. She has also assessed the benefits of transferring and pooling resources between the public and private sectors, subject to the necessary controls and limitations.
A young, well-prepared civil service
An ageing civil service is another challenge facing the government. According to Batet, it is necessary to rejuvenate the civil service, recruiting staff with outstanding training. ‘To address the ageing civil service, we need to recruit the best and embrace the values of the young.’ As for salary increases, the minister noted that economic growth should be reflected in the labour market, which includes public employees. ‘We need to reinstate the rights and labour conditions that they have lost.’
The minister also stressed the importance of the public sector. In her view, ‘It is not true that the private sector works better. When we look at specific services, we find that people view their delivery positively.’ ‘People understand that they are receiving good service, that the information is being provided appropriately and with simpler procedures’, she added.
The presentation of the third edition of the Public Agenda Programme, offered jointly by ESADE and KREAB, also featured remarks by the programme’s co-directors, Ángel Saz Carranza, director of ESADEgeo, and Eduardo Madina, director of KREAB Research, as well as Javier Solana, president of ESADEgeo.