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DOC/01/17

29.10.2001

A GLOBAL PACKAGE FOR THE REFORM OF PERSONNEL POLICY

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

    Introduction

In adopting the Reform White Paper, the College committed itself to an unparalleled reform programme to equip the Commission with a public administration that excels so as to allow the Institution to continue to fulfil its tasks under the Treaties with maximum effectiveness. To fulfil this objective the College advocated that the best of the past should be combined with new systems designed to face the challenges of the future.

The package of personnel policy reforms included in this document are a key component of this programme since they aim at allowing the people working in the Commission - its main asset - to fulfil their full potential. The strategy for modernisation will, therefore, strengthen the Institution by equipping it properly to help realise its vision for Europe.

Since staff's support for the reform process is critical, the successful completion of the negotiations on this package of proposals with Staff Representatives is of central importance for the ability of the Commission to implement the strategy. The package marks the end of a long process that began in January 2000 when the Commission launched an unprecedented round of consultations and, subsequently, negotiations on the reform of personnel policy. An internal consultation document was developed into the White Paper on Administrative Reform, outlining the approach for an integrated human resources policy allowing all members of staff to fulfil their potential. A series of thematic Consultative Documents on the modernisation of all aspects of personnel policy from recruitment to retirement were produced between October 2000 and February 2001.

Negotiations with Staff Representatives were conducted on the basis of these thematic documents in a joint High Level Body chaired by the former Secretary-General of the Council, Mr Ersboell, and in the framework of concertations under existing rules. In parallel, the other Institutions were consulted extensively.

After the High Level Body had issued an interim report, the Commission, in July 2001, revised a certain number of its orientations and issued guidance on outstanding subjects (mediation, flexible retirement etc.). This paved the way for the Administration to table new proposals in the framework of the High Level Body or Concertations to conclude the negotiations on a global package within a set period of time. Accordingly, the last few months have seen a heavy programme of meetings between the Administration and Staff Representatives. Discussion in the Council in the "Group Statut" has also helped to improve the proposal, for example on the exchange of officials.

This Communication marks the end of negotiations on the political substance of the reform of personnel policy. The High Level Body has finalised its work with a global view of the entire package. On nearly all subjects the substantial majority of Staff Representatives have expressed support for the results of the negotiations (see annex 1). This support represents a major breakthrough in the reform process. It enables ownership on the part of all those involved in the negotiations and consultations, as the common positions are the result of responsible social dialogue conducted in a constructive atmosphere where arguments founded on the interests of the European Institutions and their staff prevailed. The only subject on which, despite agreement on the objectives, no final orientation was agreed in the High Level Body, is the Reform of the Career Structure. Annex 2 provides a non-technical overview of the essential elements of the package.

At the same time, negotiations have enabled the quality of the proposals themselves to be refined and improved in some cases considerably. The resulting orientations will speed up progress towards the implementation of a modern personnel policy that will bring about much needed improvements for staff and those that manage the Institution's resources. At the same time, the Commission will be in position to present to the legislator a credible and comprehensive set of proposals for a fundamental overhaul of the Staff Regulations, and so meet the mandate given to the Prodi Commission by the Heads of State and Government. In short, the global reform package included in this Communication presents a unique opportunity from which all staff, the Institutions and the European citizens stand to benefit.

This Communication outlines the global package for the reform of personnel policy following the same structure as the previous Communication of 18 July:

  • The results of negotiations on which the Commission is requested to adopt a final decision are presented in Chapter 2.

  • Final positions on issues where the Commission invited the Ersboell group on 18 July to continue its work are included in Chapter 3: "Appraisal and promotion", "Non-permanent staff" and "Career system". On the first two issues, the final position is based on the agreement reached in the Ersboell group. On career reform, the Ersboell group discussed two options, but did not arrive at a consensus. This Chapter also contains final political positions on three reform issues tabled for negotiation in July and September (flexible retirement, mediation and modernisation of Staff Regulations).

In addition, the Commission will be invited shortly to approve general orientations and then to agree to the launching of concertations on two sectoral reform documents on Research and Relex staff policy that should be completed before the Commission presents its proposals for changes to the staff regulations in December. These texts aim to illustrate the impact of the present proposals for personnel policy reform for these two specific groups of staff. In the light of the results of the concertation, the Commission will be invited to approve any specific measures that may be required..

The non-legislative texts containing final orientations are available in annex and should be adopted as part of this Communication. The Commission is also requested to endorse the policy substance of the more detailed legal texts draft Commission decisions and draft changes in the Staff Regulations presented alongside this Communication as working documents of the Commission services. These texts contain the full detail on the agreed reform package. Following technical finalisation, the draft Commission decisions will be adopted in written procedure in November. Finally, the Commission will be seized before the end of the year with a proposal for a revised set of Staff Regulations, incorporating the various Staff regulations changes proposed in this paper and presented in the working documents.

    issues for final decision

    • "Volet social"

    Summary of the final proposal (see annexes 4 and 6)

    The "volet social" comprises a series of measures to recognise the importance of the social dimension as a key aspect of the Commission's personnel policy and to help reconcile professional and private life, to promote equality of opportunities and to protect the dignity of the individual. In the first place, this means that the various provisions of the Staff Regulations dealing with social rights and working arrangements, largely unchanged since the 1960s, need to be up-dated. For example, parental leave and the possibility of job-sharing in the European Institutions will be introduced. Furthermore, non-legislative initiatives to promote flexible working conditions, equal opportunities and career opportunities for the disabled have been agreed and laid down in an Action Plan to be adopted as a Working Document of the services. These initiatives include e.g. a commitment to adopt guidelines for teleworking in the coming months, to introduce mentoring systems for staff and to provide assistance to successful candidates with disabilities to find a job in the Commission. A further firm commitment was given to Staff Representatives with regard to developing a set of measures to protect the dignity of individuals against moral harassment. Finally, the Commission's social policy will be put on a sounder footing through the establishment of priorities and allocation of increased funding.

    The Staff Regulations would also explicitly refer to social policy.

    The new "volet social" covers a series of initiatives :

A. Family-related leave and flexible working arrangements

    On 31 October 2000 the Commission approved its consultative document on « Family-related leave and flexible working arrangements ». During the consultations which have taken place since, the following modifications to the initial proposal have been agreed :

    (1) Family-related leave

  • Maternity leave: increased duration to 24 weeks in case of birth of handicapped child; automatic transfer of remaining maternity leave to father if mother dies.

  • Adoption leave: Duration increased to 24 weeks in case of adoption of a handicapped child.

  • Parental leave: To be taken until the child reaches the age of 12 years.

  • Special leave to care for sick child: Up to 5 days of special leave in case of very serious illness of child or in case of hospitalisation of child of up to 12 years.

    (2) Flexible working arrangements

  • Part-time: Part-time work as a right to care for a child of up to 8 years (12 years for a working time reduction of no more than 10%).

    B. Equal opportunities

    The measures proposed by the Commission including the changes to the Staff Regulations were welcomed by the Staff Representatives. Concerning stable partnerships the following was proposed by the Administration:

  • Full statutory benefits for all married officials, heterosexual or homosexual, and for officials in a non-marital partnership, legally recognised as such by a Member State, under the condition that the couple has no access to legal marriage ;

  • Limited statutory benefits (health insurance) and certain administrative benefits for officials in a non-marital partnership, legally recognised as such by a Member State, but where the couple would have access to legal marriage ;

    The present practice of granting a limited range of administrative benefits (access to restaurants, language classes) for officials living in a confirmed stable partnership without legal recognition by a Member State is continued.

    The Commission will immediately launch discussions with the other Institutions and with international organisations to further develop these proposals in order to complete the approach set out above. It reserves the right to make a supplementary proposal in the context of the negotiations on the revision of the Staff Regulations.

    C. Social policy and infrastructure for staff

    In the course of the concertations, a draft agreement was achieved on the anchoring of the social dimension in the Staff Regulations. This should be accompanied by an appropriate and stable level of financial resources for implementing pluriannual action plans.

    Furthermore, a draft agreement between the Administration and the Staff Representatives has been elaborated, which aims at clarifying objectives, priorities and the budgetary framework of social policy within the Commission. In accordance with the agreed objectives and priorities, a multiannual action plan was agreed with Staff Representatives, which foresees additional annual expenditure of approximately 5 Million Euro over the next years, focusing on improvements regarding childcare facilities and social assistance.

    Main changes from the original proposal

    The proposals have been significantly strengthened as a result of the negotiations. Rights have generally been improved and a new legal basis will be incorporated in the Staff Regulations.

    D.  Moral harassment

    Following the orientations adopted bythe Commissions on 18 July 2001 to develop a clear scheme to solve problems linked to moral harassment through mediation and formal administrative procedures, a technical document was tabled by the Administration. Concertations based on this document have been opened and will continue with a view to agreeing on a draft Commission Decision before the end of the year.

    Implementation

    The agreement on the social dimension of staff policy and the action plan will be implemented immediately following its adoption in written procedure in November 2001 The amendments to the Staff Regulations will be included in the revised set of Staff Regulations by December 2001.

  • Training

      The new training guidelines

      The Training Guidelines represent a significant change in Commission policy, with the aim of better aligning training with the Institution's strategic goals and thereby enabling each member of staff to contribute optimally to their achievement. A training programme for each member of staff will therefore be devised annually as an integral part of the new appraisal system and more targeted training will help prepare staff for important career moves. A staged increase in resources to enable a major qualitative and quantitative improvement in training provision across the Institution is proposed to put the policy into practice.

      Main changes from the original proposal

    • In the framework of Concertations, a number of improvements have been agreed and the role of Staff Representatives in the training process has been clarified;

    • it has been made more explicit that training serves the interests of both the Institution and the individual staff members;

    • the role of training in promoting equal opportunities and as an instrument in helping individuals to develop their careers, laterally as well as vertically, including change of category, has been further strengthened;

    • special emphasis is put on the need to ensure access to training by staff.

    Implementation

      The new training guidelines will be implemented as from the their adoption in written procedure in November 2001. Vice President Kinnock should be habilitated to revise implementing rules that depend on these guidelines accordingly.

      • Mobility

      Summary of the new rules on internal and external mobility

        The new framework for mobility within the Commission is based on benchmarks and voluntary mobility for the vast majority of staff, with compulsory mobility reserved largely for sensitive posts and, as a general rule, in Relex DGs and the External Service. Various measures will also be taken to facilitate mobility, such as improving procedures for the publication of posts and for the hand-over of responsibilities. The Staff Regulations will be amended in order to promote mobility with the other European Institutions, Member States and private organisations and rules to deal with potential conflict of interests will be developed.

        Main changes from the original proposal

        The guidelines on mobility deal only with mobility within the Commission. Mobility between the Institutions and with external organisations is now dealt with in a separate document.

      • Clearer commitment to mobility remaining voluntary. Non-mobility in itself will not carry any negative consequences.

      • The benchmark for officials older than 55 has been changed to underline that no change in job is required.

      • Specific rules on how to deal with mobility for "sensitive functions" have been introduced.

      • The chapter on mobility within the Relex DGs will be dealt with in a separate Communication on which a concertation will be launched shortly.

      On external mobility, it was agreed that:

      • No priority points will be awarded to officials on secondment. Upon re-integration, however, priority points can be granted by the management of the official concerned in the context of the annual appraisal and promotions exercises.

      • A set of horizontal rules will be adopted at a later stage by the Commission on the prevention of conflicts of interest.

      • Instead of a special Board responsible for the screening of applications for external mobility, the existing Joint Committee will deal with these issues.

      Implementation

    The new guidelines will be implemented as from their adoption in written procedure in November 2001. Horizontal rules on the prevention of conflicts of interest will be drawn up by [December 2001]. Improvements in the basic rules governing external mobility will be integrated in the proposal for a new set of Staff Regulations to be presented by December 2001.

    • Reporting wrongdoing

    Summary of final proposal

      The obligation, in force since 1999, on all officials to report evidence of serious wrong-doing either to their hierarchy, to the Secretary General or directly to OLAF will be inserted in the Staff Regulations. Obviously, this obligation should not be considered to be unconditional in the sense that it is always open to an official to demonstrate that it was impossible in the circumstances to comply with the obligation. Moreover, officials who fulfil this obligation in good faith will be assured of protection from adverse consequences. An additional possibility will be added for officials to report wrongdoing to persons outside the Commission or OLAF in certain circumstances. First, the official must have already informed OLAF of evidence of serious wrongdoing and have allowed it a reasonable time to investigate. Secondly, the official must reasonably and honestly believe the evidence to be substantially true. Finally, the reporting may be made to the Presidents of the Court of Auditors, the European Parliament or the Council of Ministers or to the Ombudsman. Provided these conditions are met, officials will be protected from adverse consequences within the Commission. However, such protection cannot remove the possible personal liability of officials to third parties under the relevant provisions of national laws. Finally, the Commission will provide access to confidential and impartial advice for officials who are unclear as to whether the conditions for reporting evidence of serious wrongdoing to persons other than their hierarchy or OLAF are met.

      Main changes from original proposal

    • The confidential and impartial advice function will not be part of the remit of the Mediation Service.

      Implementation

      The proposals will be implemented immediately upon adoption of the Commission Decision in written procedure in November 2001. The proposals will also be inserted in the Staff Regulations.

      • Discipline

      The new rules on discipline

      The essential feature of the existing disciplinary system is maintained, namely that the appointing authority may impose a written warning or reprimand directly, but must consult the Disciplinary Board before imposing more serious sanctions. However, in order to better prepare disciplinary proceedings, written rules and procedures for the conduct of administrative enquiries will be adopted with the aim of clarifying all relevant facts and circumstances prior to any decision on the launching of disciplinary proceedings. This, together with the creation of a specialised service within DG ADMIN and of a Disciplinary Board with a more stable composition, will help expedite proceedings and ensure equal treatment of officials. As the existing rules on suspension of officials have proven to be inadequate, the possible duration of suspension with partial reduction in salary will be extended from 4 to 6 months, with specific rules applicable both as to the duration and the level of reduction in salary of officials who are subject to national legal proceedings. The rights of defence will be extended and clarified both in relation to administrative enquiries and to disciplinary proceedings proper. Finally, increased transparency will be ensured, notably by means of the publication of a handbook detailing officials' rights and obligations and regular publication of the results of disciplinary proceedings, in a form commensurate with the confidentiality requirements of such cases.

      Main changes from original proposal

      At least 2 members of the Disciplinary Board will be of the same category as the official concerned;

    • Limitation on those eligible to act as the Chairman of the Disciplinary Board to retired senior officials, serving officials who are then to be given special leave and ex-members of EU Institutions. The appointment procedure, qualification requirements and the duration of the appointment must be such as to guarantee independence and impartiality;

    • Maintenance of a tri-partite appointing authority for officials of grade A3 and below and of the written warning as a disciplinary sanction;

    • Clarification that only partial, and not total, withdrawal of retirement pension can be imposed as a disciplinary sanction; and

    • Maximum length of suspension with reduced pay (6 months) to be extended only where the official concerned is in detention.

      Implementation

      Many of the required modifications can be achieved without changing the Staff Regulations and will be introduced immediately upon adoption of the Commission Decision in written procedure in November 2001. Key examples are the definition of clear procedures for opening and handling administrative enquiries, the codification of Commission staff's rights and obligations and the appointment of an external chairman of the disciplinary board. A second series of changes will, however, require substantive changes to the Staff Regulations to be incorporated in the integrated package of Staff Regulations changes in December 2001. These changes relate mainly to streamlining the opening and processing of disciplinary procedures, enhancing the stability of the composition of the Disciplinary Board and modifying the modalities of suspension of officials.

      • Maintaining Professional Standards

      The new regime for maintaining professional standards

      The introduction of an improved annual appraisal system will provide the means for the early detection of cases where performance has not met expected standards. All efforts will then be made to re-establish an adequate level of performance. The system distinguishes between two situations. In those in which the level of performance is a cause for concern ("poor" performance) and needs to be improved: the manager will decide on the necessary remedial measures and on targets to be achieved within one year. In those in which performance is inadequate, or should the remedial measures mentioned above be unsuccessful, then further remedial action will be taken on the basis of a special performance plan, setting out the performance targets to be attained within one year. Should performance still fail to improve despite the special performance plan, then the official is allowed a further six months to rectify the situation, failing which the formal procedure for dealing with cases of professional incompetence may be launched, which may result in downgrading or dismissal. However, before taking any decision, the appointing authority must consult a joint advisory body for its opinion and before taking a final decision it must take the entire career of the official into account. Finally, performance problems resulting principally from social problems or medical conditions will be dealt with separately.

      Main changes from original proposal

      A differentiated approach to remedial action will be adopted on the one hand for cases where the performance is well below acceptable standards and on the other for less serious cases offering good perspectives for improvement. In the first case a special performance plan must be drawn up immediately, outlining the performance standards to be attained within one year. In the latter case, the official is provided with the opportunity and the remedies needed to regain a satisfactory level of performance before such a special performance plan becomes necessary;

    • In line with the new staff appraisal system, the regular annual staff report will provide the basis for assessment of the official in both remedial phases; and

    • At least one member of the joint advisory body will be of the same category as the official concerned.

      Implementation

      The proposals on detecting and remedying performance problems can be introduced without modification of the Staff Regulations (adoption in written procedure in November 2001). However, modification of the Staff Regulations is required for the formal procedure to establish professional incompetence and draw the appropriate consequences.

      • Recruitment(1)

      The recruitment policy in general, and in particular the establishment of an interinstitutional European Union Recruitment Office, met with broad agreement within the High-Level Negotiating Body, as the Commission noted in its Communication of 18 July 2001 ("New orientations for the reform of personnel policy"). The Staff Representatives gave their general agreement to those orientations in the course of the concertation. In this connection the Commission has reaffirmed its intention of defending the principle of parity on competition selection boards and of maintaining the role of the Joint Committee and of the common Joint Committee for the Institutions provided for in the Staff Regulations.

      In the light of progress made in this area and in line with Orientation 6 of the Communication of 18 July 2001, the Commission is requested to take the following action:

    • Approve the draft decision of the Presidents and the draft decision of the Secretaries-General of the Community Institutions establishing a European Union Recruitment Office (see Annex) and instruct DG ADMIN to consult the Staff Regulations Committee on those draft decisions;

    • Empower the Secretary-General to submit the draft decisions to the other Institutions, after consulting the Staff Regulations Committee, with a view to their adoption at the earliest opportunity;

    • Empower the Secretary-General to conclude, on the basis of the annexed draft and after consulting the common Joint Committee, an agreement between the Community Institutions on common principles for a harmonised selection and recruitment policy and on the principles governing the use of aptitude tests.

      • Middle Management

      The new rules on middle management(2)

      The main objectives of the new middle management decision are to increase the management capacity of the Commission by improving selection procedures, management skills of all (potential) managers and through the definition of a new management competency profile. The key features of the new system are:

    • A much more precise definition of Middle Managers and their role within the Institution on the basis of a new competency profile

    • New mobility rules for middle managers.

    • A new decentralised appointment procedure for Heads of Unit (other than at A3 level) has been introduced on the basis of the Commission decision on senior management of 21.12.2000.

    • A simple procedure for voluntary reassignment to non-management positions.

  • A fair procedure for compulsory reassignment to non-management positions in case of serious management deficiencies or reorganisations;

    • A "Joint Advisory Committee" on Middle management appointments will review the functioning of the system;

    • The Central Staff Committee will be invited to designate 10 officials of grades A1 or A2 for inclusion in the list of "rapporteurs" following middle management decisions;

    • Article 29.1 (a) of the Staff Regulations will be split into two indents to distinguish between filling posts by (i) transfer and (ii) promotion. Heads of Unit posts will only be filled by transfer. However, the minimum level in the new career structure proposed in 3.2 at which staff are eligible for nomination to Head of Unit corresponds to a grade between grade A6 and A5 in the current system.

      Main changes from original proposal

        Joint Advisory Committee on Middle Management appointments (the Staff Representatives consider that this is insufficient)

        Increased safeguards in case of compulsory reassignment to non-management positions

        Improved definition of competency profile

      Implementation

      A separate paper on Advisers will be prepared following the release of the Task Force Report on this subject (by 31 October). Following concertations on this special issue, a consolidated draft Decision on Middle Management and Advisors will be presented for approval to the College by the year-end.

      • Pay and Pensions

      The strategy proposed consists of an in depth modernisation in order to improve the adequacy of benefits and contributions, enhance administrative simplicity and promote the transparency of the provisions. The streamlined allowance package on the whole maintains, and for some officials even slightly improves, compensation levels. In addition, it is proposed to formally apply the method for the annual adaptation to salaries and pensions and to permanently include it inthe Staff Regulations. Finally, the measures proposed on pensions aim at ensuring actuarial balance and that pension payments are fully covered by contributions from all parties. Numerous other provisions have, however, been modified during the concertation period, and, in addition, a series of more detailed, new elements have been introduced.

      Main changes from original proposal

      A. Pay

    • Household allowance: household allowance is presently defined as 5% of basic salary. The orientation paper proposed to replace this percentage by a lump sum of €245. Instead, it is now foreseen to introduce a split system: a lump sum of €135 to which 2% of basic salary are added.

    • Secretarial allowance: The suppression of the secretarial allowance will be compensated by granting an additional step in the grade to all current beneficiaries. This step will be maintained upon promotion in the new career system for all former C grade staff being promoted during the first ten years of the operation of the new system

    • Treatment as a dependent child: The possibility to have another person treated as a dependent child will be maintained, but clear individual proof will be required as regards the legal obligation.

    • Annual travel: The kilometric allowance (€ 0.0-0.5) will differentiate between certain distance brackets. Reimbursement will be granted as of a minimal distance of 200 km. In addition a supplementary flat-rate of € 150/300 will be granted for destinations with particularly high travel costs (€150: ES,IRL,IT,PO,UK; €300 DK,FIN,GR,SU). An appropriate index taking into account the development of the cost of travel will be defined for the regular adaptation of the reimbursement.

    • Transfer of parts of the salary: The possibility to transfer parts of the salary will be maintained. These transfers (except those linked to education) will be limited to the official's country of origin, to obligatory family expenditure and to the amount of expatriation/foreign residence allowance. With regard to education-related transfers, the following would apply:

      • Allow for transfers of the school allowance to any Member State where the child actually attends school or university

      • 16% limit not applied to transfer of school allowance

      The correction coefficients applied will be those for the country as a whole, not those for the capital. Limited additional direct transfers without application of a correction coefficient will be accepted.

    • Expatriation allowance: The Commission will review the modalities for implementing this allowance in co-operation with the other Institutions.

    • Installation allowance: Should be granted only if the official, when taking up service, had to and actually did change residence in order to comply with Article 20 of the Staff Regulations.

    • Daily subsistence allowance: Reduce current number of rates, but maintain a distinction in the level of the allowance for officials with and without household allowance.

    • Missions: Up-dating and/or precision of several provisions, concerning in particular the point of departure and return of missions (= place of employment) ; authorised classes of air travel ; authorisation to first class train travel for all grades of personnel ; use of private car (limitation) ; daily allowances (separation of hotel costs and daily allowances for all grades and categories of staff and for all destinations) ; long-term missions (reduced allowance). Many of these modifications correspond already to current practice.

      B. Pensions

    • Pension rights bonus between 60 and 65: The current statutory provision granting a pension rights bonus for all officials between 60 and 65 will be maintained.

    • Transfer of pension rights: Possible re-examination (to improve financial neutrality of the scheme) of technical aspects of current provisions; Staff Representatives will be kept closely informed.

    • Invalidity: Pension contributions during invalidity should be based on the actual invalidity allowance received, not on the last basic salary; in addition, there will be certain procedural precisions. In case of professional illness no contribution will be applied.

    • Pension fund: Launching of feasibility study, execution in close contact with personnel representatives.

    • Survivor's pension: Several precisions and limited modifications.

    • Family allowances: Maintain family allowances also for officials leaving for pension before the age of 60.

    • Non-compatibility of pension and salary: Clarification of existing provisions.

    • Heading V: Measures will have to be found to avoid the forecast increase in guaranteed expenditures relating to pensions crowding out the available margin for administrative expenditure under Heading V of the Financial Perspectives. In this context, one could examine whether separating out (obligatory) pension payments from Heading V of the Financial Perspectives could be pursued.

    Implementation

      All these changes require modifications of the Staff Regulations and will, therefore, form part of the proposal on a revised set of Staff Regulations to be presented by December 2001.

    Issues for final orientation

    • Appraisal and promotion

    The new system(3)

      The new appraisal and promotion system forms an integrated whole in which staff are appraised annually on the basis of pre-defined and agreed objectives (i.e. expected results). A self-assessment forms part of this process. A formal dialogue between every member of staff and his/her manager must take place at least once a year, but the staff report may be carried over twice with the agreement of both parties.

      The staff report contains marks for conduct, efficiency and ability which give rise to a maximum of 20 merit points. These points should reward the contribution made by the member of the staff to the work programme of his/her Unit. Staff appraisal is carried out by the reporting officer, whose assessment must be countersigned by the countersigning officer. The Director-General or the Director in the case of B, C and D grade staff subsequently awards priority merit points to reflect the contribution made to the work programme of the Directorate-General. Finally, the Promotion Committee allocates points to reward the contribution made by staff to horizontal, Commission-wide activities, such as jury membership.

      All points accumulate until a "promotion threshold" is reached, upon which the official is promoted. Points in excess of the threshold are carried over.

      An extensive system of checks and balances is aimed at guaranteeing the fairness and robustness of the system. Central guidelines developed by the Administration should guarantee consistent appreciation of the system across the various Commission departments. The system of appeal allows for the thorough handling of complaints against staff reports. The Joint Evaluation Committee delivers an opinion to the appeal assessor who will have to justify any decision which departs from that opinion. Additionally, the Joint Evaluation Committee, in its global assessment of the exercise,oversees the way in which priority points have been granted. The role of Staff Representatives is reinforced at different levels in the system as an essential contributions to safeguarding the transparency and fairness of appraisal and promotions.

      Main changes from the original proposal

      The process of negotiation has led to considerable improvements in the Commission's original proposal. The main changes are:

  • A more elaborate system of checks and balances has been developed, through the appeal assessors and by strengthening the role of countersigning officers and the Joint Evaluation Committee.

    • A more balanced system of avoiding inflation in marks has been agreed that safeguards the independence of reporting officers.

    • The system of points allocation will be calibrated to allow up to 15% of fast careers and not more than 10% of slow careers.

    • The assessment format i.e. the Staff report has been improved to better balance the importance of the three main assessment parameters:ability, conduct and efficiency.

    • The procedure has been streamlined and lightened, notably by introducing the possibility of carrying over Staff Reports from one year to the next. Alternatively, individual chapters of the Staff Reports can be carried over.

    • The principles governing the transition to the new system have been defined. The first promotions (in 2003) will be based primarily on the results of the first new appraisal exercise, whilst taking into account "reliquats"from the previous promotion exercise, and, within certain limits, seniority in the grade.

        Implementation

        The finalisation of the definition of the points system outlined in this paragraph and detailed in Annex will have to be achieved by the end of November. The main parameters which still need to be defined are :

    • The precise definition of the quota of priority points and the rules governing its use.

  • Idem, for the points to be allocated to the Promotion Committee.

    • The precise definition of the modalities of the transition regime.

        Following the completion of the concertations on this point, the Commission will submit a final proposal, in the form of "General Implementing Provisions " for opinion to the Staff Committee and the Interinsitutional Staff Regulations Committee in keeping with Article 110 of the Staff Regulations. Upon receipt of the opinion, the Commission will adopt the new system in early 2002. The first staff appraisal report will be drawn up in 2002 (covering the period June-December) and the first promotions on this basis will take place in 2003. The promotions in 2003 will be based, therefore, on the results (merit and priority points) of the first "new" appraisal exercise, as weel as on the carry-overs from the 2002 exercise (A-staff "reliquats" with Noel priority points and staff of other categories who have been proposed by their DGs). Additionally, priority points specific to this first promotion round will be awarded to take account of seniority, in association with the Promotion Committee.

        • Career Structure(4)

        Following the tabling on 14 September by the Administration of a new paper on strengthening the career structure Towards a more continuous career system - discussions on this matter in the Ersboell group have allowed the identification of a number of improvements on which all members of the group agree. These concern principally:

    • The development of a "road map" for improving the possibilities to change categories. This will include a structured programme of transformation of D, B , C posts into C, B and A posts, respectively, to assist officials carrying out functions that are normally situated in a higher category to move to that category. The programme will be complemented by an increase in internal competitions, pending the development of the new certification mechanism (see below). In addition to these immediate actions, this would notably include:

      • A new "certification" mechanism for changing categories/function groups involving extensive training, access to which is based on staff reports. Appropriate safeguards need to be developed to handle appeals against non-admission to the scheme.

      • This mechanism should be developed on an inter-institutional basis in conjunction with the European Recruitment Office. A short study should confirm that the setting up of a European Administrative School to achieve this would be useful.

      • A simplification of the grading rules and a generalised increase in qualification requirements for participating in external competitions.

      • The possibility for outstanding non-management A category staff to progress beyond the current level of A4;

      • The D category should be phased out and replaced by contract agents. Existing D category staff should be kept in the system and should be trained to allow them to take up functions with more responsibilities;

      • The Institutions should have more management autonomy to manage the careers of their staff; minimum promotion rates should, therefore, be included in the Staff Regulations.

        These measures should be pursued independently of the choice on the career structure as such, for which two basic models were identified in the Administration's paper. The first model (Option A+) contains a further development of the existing career structure and seeks to reinforce the link between career advancement and merit through a mechanism to accelerate and defer steps ("echelons"). It consists of the existing pay matrix to which one entry grade per category has been added (e.g. A9). The second model (option C) aims at achieving the objective by changing the structure of the pay matrix through a reduction in the importance of time-based career advancement (seniority steps) and an increase in the weight of merit- based progression (promotions).

        Following extensive discussions in the Ersboell group it was concluded that both options could contribute towards reaching the objectives set out for the career reform. However, the members representing the Administration expressed a strong preference for the more linear approach this could be accepted by a significant number of Staff Representatives. The interinstitutional discussions on this matter both in meetings with the Ersboell group and through discussions between the Secretaries General and the Heads of Administration - show that views are divided.

        An advantage of the model based on the existing career structure (Option A+) is that this approach avoids a reclassification of staff. Moreover, the Staff Representatives supporting this model consider that it would be unwise to propose any significant modifications of the pay scale and that it would be very difficult to obtain a collective guarantee on minimum promotion rates in return for reducing the importance of the existing guarantees on seniority steps.

        For the first option to make a significant contribution to strengthening the link between career progression and merit, a significant number of accelerations and deferrals of seniority steps would be required. This would necessitate the development of a new procedure parallel to the promotions procedure. More importantly, while in the administrative culture of the Institutions variations in promotions are accepted, systematically deferring steps that are currently automatic for staff with below average performance would introduce a punitive element in the Institutions' career development policies, notably on appraisal and promotion. This could prove to be highly divisive and - as the experience of the Research Staff Policy, where this possibility exists, shows it would be unlikely to work in practice. There is, therefore, a significant risk that this approach would simply lead to a continuation of the status quo. In this context, it is worth pointing out that the four Staff Representatives who prefer to work in the context of the existing career system(5), have tabled an alternative model (Option A++) without the possibility of accelerating steps in which deferrals would be based on two inadequate staff reports. While this approach has certain merits, it would not lead to a significant strengthening of the link between merit and career advancement on an Institution-wide basis since it would only apply to a very small number of staff.

        It is, therefore, recommended that the Commission adopt an orientation for a new career structure based on a further development suggested by Staff Representatives - of the linear model presented by the Administration to the Ersboell group (Option C). Given that in such a structure - with more grades and fewer steps -promotions are of paramount importance for career development, all members of the group considered that career profiles in the form of average promotion rates should be laid down in the Staff Regulations. An integral component of the new system is the incorporation of career profiles and corresponding minimum promotion rates from one grade to another ("collective guarantee") in Article 6 of the Staff Regulations.

          The proposed new career structure comprises 16 grades and 5 steps per grade with a continuous pay progression. For illustrative purposes, as presented in annex 9, this could comprise a step value of 3.1% and a fifth step overlapping with the first step in the next grade. The proposed structure covers an assistant function group (replacing the current C and B categories) and an administrator function group (replacing the A category). Movement between the groups is facilitated through a new certification mechanism linked to staff reports and the completion of a training programme evidenced by the passing of an exam pertinent to the responsibilities of the administrators function group. Changes in function groups do not require changes in grades, and, therefore, salary progression following a change in function group is never blocked as is the case in the current system. Average career speeds for both function groups have been defined so as to ensure that lifetime earnings of "normal" staff are not affected by the change to the new career structure. The new pay matrix as well as the entry points and end points are presented at Annex. Grading rules in the system will be considerably simplified while minimum entry qualifications are increased. Finally, the D category will be phased out and gradually replaced by public contract agents (see 3. 3).

          The transition to the new system would rely on the following principles:

        Staff not immediately in the matrix should be put on notional steps i.e. steps that are temporarily added to every grade.

        Staff in grades D1, C1 and B1 will have the possibility of one further promotion;

      • Promotions in the new system during transition will respect the following conditions: The minimum and maximum "value" of a promotion in the new system will also be guaranteed for members of staff not finding themselves immediately on the pay matrix. Following a promotion, all members of staff will be in a position to benefit from at least two seniority steps.

          The transition will also respect the following guarantees given to every member of staff:

        Pay at the moment of transition is unaffected and, where necessary, a transition allowance will be paid to maintain salary progress in accordance with the remaining steps in the old grade.

          Changes from the original proposal

          The system proposed in this Communication differs in nearly all respects from the two options tabled by the Commission in February 2001. An important example is that the proposal for introducing premiums has been dropped since the new career structure itself leads to a satisfactory strengthening of the link between merit and career advancement. On the whole the proposed system represents a significant improvement following negotiations in the Ersboell group on the so-called Option C tabled by the Administration in a discussion paper on 14 September 2001.

          Implementation

          The development of the new certification mechanism and the consideration of a European Administrative School which, in conjunction with the European Recruitment Office, could run this system for all the Institutions is one of the major results of the Interinstitutional discussions on the career system. Work on this will start immediately after the adoption of this Communication.

          Technical Finalisation

          The distributional effects of the new system, the arrangements governing the transition and the merging of the categories will be finalised before a proposal is put to the Inter Institutional Staff Regulations Committee. In particular, this approach will avoid a reclassification of staff during the transition phase. The system will be implemented on the basis of a two stage approach, taking the existing pay scale as its point of departure. The new career structure outlined above will be included in the proposal for a new set of Staff Regulations.

          • Non-permanent staff

          The new regime for non-permanent staff(6)

        The key features of the regime for non-permanent staff can be summarised as follows:

      • non-permanent human resources should only be employed on non-core tasks and always work under the guidance of permanent staff;

      • A new balance is agreed between different types of non-permanent staff, including, notably, a more significant use of contract agents on non-core tasks outside the Institutions;

      • a reduced use of Temporary Agents in the Commission;

      • the replacement of the ALATs in the Delegations by contract agents;

      • the adoption of a new decision on DNEs; and

      • the limitation of the use of intérimaires to six weeks.

        Main changes from the original proposal

        The concept for the proposed new Contract Agent has been modified in order to take better account, in particular, of the needs of the other Institutions.

        Therefore, the final orientation is now as follows:

      • Contract Agents should only be used in Commission Representations and Delegations, Agencies, Commission Offices, Executive Agencies, in other entities created by a specific legal act. They should not be used within the Institutions, except for carrying out the tasks that are currently performed by the D category. On this basis, the Contract Agent will also be used to replace certain private law contracts and local agents inside the European Union, which will lead to a simplification of the system.

      • Decision to maintain the current auxiliary agent scheme in the Institutions with the exception of category D.

      • Contracts for Contract Agents will be renewable until becoming indefinite. The first contract cannot exceed a period of 5 years. An extension is possible for up to 5 years. After two extensions, renewal leads to a contract of indefinite duration.

      • The upper limit for the Contract Agent pay scale will be set at theequivalent of the A6/3 level, thus excluding managerial tasks. In order to take into account the life-long career perspective for these staff, contract agents will be integrated into the Community social security system.

      • The career structure for contract agents should be based on the same basic principles and philosophy as the grid for the new career for officials. Given the benefits arising from the Community social security system and from access to Commission infrastructures the pay scale for Contract Agents will lead to net salaries about 15% below the current level of auxiliary agents with an upper limit set at the net salary of a current A6/3.

      • The proposed modifications to the Contract Agent concept will also need to be reflected in the anti-accumulation rules to be included in the revised Commission Code of Conduct.

      Implementation

        The creation of the Contract Agent requires a modification of the Staff Regulations and will be integrated in the Commission's proposal for a modified set of Staff Regulations. The other measures will be based on Commission Decisions under the existing Staff Regulations to be finalised before December 2001.

        • Mediation Service

        The Commission's proposal for a renewed legal framework of the Mediation Service was welcomed by Staff Representatives. In particular, the proposed strengthened role of the Mediation Service was supported. The following changes included as a consequence of interventions of Staff Representatives have further improved the draft Commission Decision:

        • The independence of the Mediation Service will be fully guaranteed by setting it up as an independent service administratively attached to the Secretariat-General, appointed by the President and by allowing the Mediator to report directly to the College.

        • The task of providing impartial advice for staff who need a contact point in cases of alleged wrongdoings is dropped from the Decision and should be subject to a separate mandate.

          Implementation

          The new mandate of the Mediation Service should be adopted in November 2001 by Vice President Kinnock, in agreement with the President, on the basis of the final position outlined in this Communication.

          • Flexible retirement

          The new system(7)

          The new system governing the rules of flexible retirement consists of two parts: a) a first set of mechanisms relates to rights of officials and is, therefore, applied in case officials choose to take early retirement and b) a second set of mechanisms is available to the Institutions, which can choose to offer early retirement to certain officials. In addition, a number of measures are proposed to improve the unemployment regime for Temporary Agents. Following discussions with the Staff Representatives, the following final orientations should be adopted to address points raised by the Unions to be finalised in concertations.

          Main improvements to the Commission's July orientation:

          Strict actuarial neutrality should be applied in the calculation of pension rights in cases where pension rights are transferred to another system.

        • According to the case law of the Court of Justice, officials will in future need to be regarded as migrant workers. The Staff Regulations must, consequently, ensure that their right of free movement is guaranteed. The possibility offered by the Staff Regulations of a 'severance grant' in exchange for pension rights in the case of an official leaving the service after less than ten years of service,does not fully comply with this requirement. The provisions should therefore be changed insofar as only officials leaving in the first year of service would have the option of the allocation; officials leaving after one to ten years of service would have their pension rights transferred to a national pension system or to an insurance or pension fund complying with certain minimum conditions. The allowance for officials with less than one year of service should be the sum of the pension contributions paid by the official and the employer.

        • Early retirement for officials with more than 35 years of service should be made more attractive by calculating the pension on the basis of actuarial neutrality, including all the years of service.

        • In order to allow for a step-by-step reduction of professional activities, a part-time involving 50% of activity for officials between 55 and 60 should be a right. The official should receive an indemnity of 10% of his basic salary on top of either his basic part-time salary or the equivalent of his early retirement pension, whichever is more favourable for the official.

          Implementation

          The proposals for the necessary changes in the relevant articles of the Staff Regulations will be finalised on the basis of the orientations set out above by November 2001 through a "concertation" with Staff Representatives. These proposals will subsequently be integrated in the revised set of Staff Regulations to be tabled by December 2001.

      • General review of the Staff Regulations

          Other than the specific issues mentioned above, there is a more general need to ensure that the provisions of the Staff Regulations provide a modern and effective framework for the employment of European civil servants. Certain provisions need to be up-dated with a view to increasing efficiency. This applies, for example, to the rules governing the management of the sickness insurance scheme. Other provisions need to be clarified: for example, the obligations of former civil servants and, in particular, of those who take up new jobs whether in the public or private sector. Following the orientations of the Communication of 18 July 2001, the Commission therefore tabled a working document on "General Review of the Staff Regulations" for negotiations with the Staff Representatives on 14 September 2001. This document met with general agreement.

          Implementation

          The proposals for the necessary changes in the relevant articles of the Staff Regulations will be finalised on the basis of the orientations set out above by November 2001 through a "concertation" with Staff Representatives. These proposals will subsequently be integrated in the revised set of Staff Regulations to be tabled by December 2001.

        Update on the cost of reform

    The various adjustments made to the Reform proposals as a result of the negotiations have also altered the time profile of the financial implications of the reforms of personnel policy discussed in this Communication. However, the basic J-curve profile according to which a small initial "investment" cost is followed by significant cost saving thereafter is confirmed by the results of the negotiations. Moreover, as Annex 12 shows, the final package presented in this Communication has a smoother time profile and, notably, a less significant increase in costs during 2003 and 2004 compared with the costs of Reform estimated in July 2001 [SEC(2001)1202].

    The final results of the package are fully consistent with the Commission's commitment to respect budgetary rigour and to leave sufficient margins under the ceiling of Heading V of the Financial Perspectives for the other Institutions. It is worth underling that in the year with the highest additional expenditure (2006) the cost of Reform represents less than 0.5% of the expenditure ceiling of Heading V. In this year the percentage increase in forecast total administrative expenditure by the Commission remains below the percentage increase in the ceiling of Heading V.

    The long-run budgetary effects of Reform as summarised in this Communication and presented in Annex 12 ultimately imply a reduction in expenditure under Heading V of the Financial Perspectives of approximately 3%. These savings exclude the effects of a greater use of Contract Agents to replace D category staff and staff on private sector contracts, as well as those of increased efficiency generated by the Reform.

      CONCLUSIONS

    The package of Reform proposals presented in this Communication marks the conclusion of an intensive phase of internal negotiations and interinstitutional consultations. The Reform process will now change gears as, with its adoption, the Commission will commence implementation of a significant number of personnel policy reforms by the end of this year in keeping with the Reform White Paper timetable.

    In addition, on the key issues of the reform of the pay and pensions system and of the career structure, alongside other reforms requiring changes in the Staff Regulations, the Commission will table the biggest ever revision of the Staff Regulations by December 2001. The successful completion of the negotiations on this matter will be fundamental for the success of the Reform programme. The Commission, therefore, calls on the Legislative Authority to ensure that this process is given the importance it merits in line with the Reform mandate given to the Prodi Commission at the 1999 Berlin summit.

    The Commission will be seized in December 2001 with the integrated proposal for a revised set of Staff Regulations. The formal legislative phase and the process of interinstitutional decision making will have to be managed carefully, both in terms of the substance of the negotiations and the communication to staff. The Commission, therefore, proposes to establish a joint "Comité de suivie" for this purpose as part of a memorandum of understanding with the Commission's Staff Representatives (see annex 3).

    The proposals and measures laid down in this Communication are a central pillar of the Reform of the Commission. Moreover, they constitute an integrated package that cannot be dissected without significant loss of coherence and without risking sacrificing the existing considerable support among staff and Staff Representatives that is vital for its successful implementation.

    The following five parameters are of crucial importance in this context:

    • the method of adapting pay and pensions;

    • the overall level of pay and pensions, including the introduction of an objective method for adjusting pension contributions, elements relating to the discontinuation of the temporary contribution, and adjustments to allowances and benefits provided for in Annex VII of the Staff Regulations;

    • individual and collective guarantees in the Staff Regulations concerning the new career system to be introduced (individual guarantees relating to the transition to the new system, collective guarantees concern promotion rates) ;

    • the use of contract staff in existing bodies or bodies set up by a specific legal act (Commission representations in the European Union, Commission Delegations outside the Union, agencies, implementation offices etc.), but not within the institutions, except for jobs now done by D category staff;

    • any attempt to distort the central aims of the Reform, the consistency of the Reform, or the unity of the Staff Regulations, in particular the stronger link between performance and career progression and the corresponding salary. In this context, the proposal must be regarded as an organic whole, which cannot be broken down into separate decisions.

    • Should these parameters be significantly compromised during the negotiations on the revised set of Staff Regulations then the Commission will reconsider the overall balance of the package in consultation with its Staff Representatives in accordance with the memorandum of understanding referred to above. Contacts with staff and administrations of the other Institutions will then also be taken.

      (1) See annex 5.

      (2) See annex 7 for a full description of the new rules.

      (3) See annex 8 for a full description of the new rules.

      (4) See annex 9 for a more extensive description of the system proposes.

      (5) R&D, FFPE, SFIE and TAO-AFI

      (6) See annex 10 for a full description of the new regime for non permanent staff.

      (7) See annex 11 for an overview of the key elements of the proposed rules on flexible retirement as well as the amendments to the unemployment regime for temporary agents.


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