NICOSIA - President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades presented on Friday the Action Plan for the Reform of the Civil Service and called on Public Servants` Trade Union to get actively involved and contribute to the effort to modernize the state.
President Anastasiades introduced the five pillars of Public Service reform as well as the Action Plan implementation schedule and then responded to questions from journalists.
In his opening statement, the President said the implementation of the reforms included in the Action Plan is currently underway and will be completed by 2016, describing 2014 and 2015 as the most important milestones.
He noted that the aim of the reforms is to create a modern state that would be able to meet modern demands and seize opportunities.
A state, he added, that would be flexible, efficient and citizen-friendly and with dignity that will treat all citizens equally, based on their needs and rights. A State, he continued, that will respect taxpayers` money, avoid unnecessary expenses and act in terms of results and social contribution. "
The President acknowledged the fact that any change is initially accompanied by skepticism and reservation and urged the leadership of the Pancyprian Public Servants` Trade Union (PASYDY) to get actively involved and contribute to the overall effort to modernize the state for the benefit both of the society and the public servants themselves.
He said the reform is based on five pillars which approach the Public Service as a single organization with the ability to adapt to modern conditions.
As he said, the first pillar includes actions aiming at strengthening the capacity for strategic planning, drafting policy and coordination.
The second pillar refers to the reorganization of structures and operation of services.
The third pillar includes actions for better use, education and enhancement of the skills of human resources of the public service.
The fourth pillar refers to actions aimed at improving the relationship between state and the citizens, in order for the citizens to receive the best possible service.
The fifth pillar concerns actions on the operating principles and values that must govern public service.
The President said that the detailed content of each of the pillars will be developed both to the society and to the public officials by the Commissioner of the Public Service Reform.
The President Anastasiades noted that the promoted measures will yield substantial and significant benefits to all citizens and employees in the public sector.
As he said, “citizens will enjoy more direct, faster and better service, and there will be greater transparency and accountability for the actions and spending of public administration and the state will be supported by a flexible and efficient public service that will be able to avert and tackle contemporary challenges.”
He pointed out that “through reform, we aspire to create a state that will serve and not offer disservice to the citizen. A state that will be modern, orderly and above all socially sensitive to those who really need it while offering to the conscientious and hardworking public servants the guarantees for their advancement, based on their skills and performance and not on who they know or seniority.”
"It is my belief that we can succeed and we will succeed, having the support of society and the close cooperation of public officials," he said.
In response to press questions, the President invited PASYDY to participate in the dialogue on public service reform, so that the final result is a collaboration of all stakeholders.
Α World Bank mission comprising18 member is currently visiting the island to provide expert advice on the reform of the Public Sector. The experts will focus on the Ministries of Health, Education and Agriculture.
A UK National School of Government team is also in Cyprus looking into personnel matters such as the state payroll, the evaluation system in place and the mobility of public servants. On September 23, a UK mission will visit Cyprus to look into local administration matters and the department of Registrar of Companies.
Cyprus signed in August a bilateral agreement with the UK to conduct a study on the modernization and reform of the public sector.
The government has stated that public sector reform is a priority as well as an obligation stemming from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the basis of an international rescue for Cyprus reached in late March.