Developments in public service reform from around the world
One: Germany The European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that the pay scheme for German civil servants was discriminatory on the grounds of age. The scheme meant that older recruits into the civil service got higher wages, which is illegal under EU law; it was abolished in 2011. A group of civil servants brought forward a case against this discrimination, with the aim of claiming back-pay for the period during which their pay was calculated under the old scheme. Though initially unsuccessful, the claimants appealed and ECJ have held the claims to be valid. The court ruled that it is for the German courts to decide whether their government is liable for damages.
Two: Canada Wayne Wouters, the Clerk of the Privy Council, announced his retirement online Wednesday 20 August. Wouters recently made significant waves in the civil service in Canada with the introduction of his controversial Blueprint 2020 plan last year, which aimed to create a culture of collaborative innovation in Canada’s Federal public service. He will be replaced by Janice Charette, who was his second-in-command.
Three: India The Narendra Modi Cabinet is moving forward with its Digital India programme. The ambitious undertaking, spearheaded by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity), aims to “transform India into a digital empowered society and knowledge economy”. It will start immediately and be implemented in phases until 2018.
Four: Ghana The Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA) is calling for an overhaul of the civil service in order to help tackle the country’s economic woes. The anti-corruption organisation believes the blame for current difficulties with the economy cannot fall at the feet of the government alone, arguing there’s a need to shuffle the deck – with civil servants who’ve been in a post for a significant time being transferred to new jobs. A statement issued by Cynthia Essandoh, coordinator of BIA in Accra, highlighted a sluggish and overly bureaucratic civil service by citing the slow response to letters, particularly within the Trade Ministry. “It is about time we changed the people at the helm of affairs and see if things will not get better,” the statement said.
Five: Australia Australian State Government has awarded a contract to cloudBuy to deliver an eProcurement marketplace for the state’s Treasury and IT departments. The new e-marketplace will consolidate existing shared services, which should translate into financial savings and improvements in efficiency. The e-marketplace is an end-to-end ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) offering that will house 20 key Treasury and ICT suppliers. “This is cloudBuy’s first eMarketplace project in Australia and follows earlier contract wins for our Spend Analysis solution in this market,” said Ronald Duncan, chairman of cloudBuy plc.
Six: Singapore Civil servants on non-graduate schemes will receive a 5% pay rise, according to reports on 30 August. The salary adjustments were made after the Public Service Division’s (PSD’s) annual review, in order to keep up with private sector wages. The last time civil service salaries were adjusted to keep pace with the private sector was in 2012. It is unclear how many of the 82,000 civil servants received the salary bump, but managers and their support staff, technicians and administrators all benefited, plus middle-managers on the graduate scheme.