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11. září 2012 | Press Conferences

Navrhovaný zákon o úřednících je třeba odmítnout

Press release by Transparency International, Oživení, Ekologický právní servis and Anticorruption Endowment

Transparency International Czech Republic and other nongovernmental organisations are convinced that the Public Servants Act, now in the process of evaluation by government ministries, will not bring any improvement to the current situation. On the contrary, it will conserve the present conditions for many more years. Therefore it should be rejected and work should start without delay on a legislation of quality, as this is badly needed for the sake of better state administration. Even today, in the absence of new legislation, the government can adopt regulations instantly leading to a quantum leap in the performance of public administration.

NGOs therefore request in an open letter that the prime minister and his cabinet reject the proposed amendment and formulate a new political specification, which would better tally with the requirement for professional public service. At the same time these NGOs call on the government to expeditiously draft personnel administration rules, which would include the introduction of compulsory public tenders for positions in state administration, standardised job evaluations and compulsory requirements for education. These measures do not require legal authorisation and can be introduced almost instantly!

Why we need the law

The Ministry of the Interior has provided the government ministries with the text of a proposed act “on the legal situation and education of employees in public administration” (Public Servants Act).

It is a long-awaited legislation, required by the Czech Constitution, expected by the European Commission and representing one of the main pillars of anticorruption strategy.

Quality legislation will help the Czech Republic develop a professional civil service, resistant against corruption and political pressures and capable of handling the same amount of work better and faster and conducive to cutting the cost of outsourcing selected services. Last but not least, a legislation of quality would reduce the number of many useless and ineffective projects notably in the IT sphere.

The government promised in its programme statement to “present a proposal for standardised legal regulation of the rights and duties of public administration servants, which would make a clear difference between political appointees and civil servants and help to depoliticise, professionalise and stabilise public administration”.

However, the proposed public servants act, presented for comments and suggestions, does not meet the requirements for professional public service and fulfil the government’s programme statement.

In the first place, it does not provide for “depoliticising”, nor does it make a clear line between political appointments”.

“The outlining of the role of political leadership and the bureaucratic sphere is unclear and not thoroughly resolved, as evidenced especially by the status of deputy minister. Although a deputy minister is formally a civil servant, he is not required to pass select proceedings and to complete compulsory education. Protection against political pressures is therefore insufficient,” says Radim Bureš of Transparency International Czech Republic.

Nor does the proposed legislation address the needs of “professional status and stability”.  The proposed line between “officials” and “civil servants” lacks purpose and instead of professionalism and stability, it would lead to chaos, since practical distinction between an “official” and “civil servant” cannot be made. Moreover, those who decide about public contracts and to whom protection against political pressures should particularly apply will fall under the lower category of “civil servants”. The career code and evaluation of employees remain incomplete and easily prone to abuse.

Finally, the proposed legislation does not set a modern, responsible “system of remuneration”, which would emphasise the entitled pay component and reduce and precisely define the conditions of the discretionary component, i.e. bonuses. “The proposed legislation does not address the issue of remuneration and a potentially corruptive system permitting nontransparent and arbitrary award of bonuses, repeatedly criticised by many media sources, remains intact,” Bureš notes.

Enclosures:

Contacts:

Radim Bureš

Transparency International – Czech Republic

Sokolovska 260/143

180 00  Praha 8

Tel: +420 224 240 897

Cell: +420 733 666 008

E-mail: bures@transparency.cz