: / Strategies / National Poverty Reduction Strategy (2003-2005)

Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

G. Creating an Effective Civil Service

155. A serious effort has been made in recent years to improve the civil service of the Republic as an important component of administrative reform. Assistance in civil service reform is being provided by the TACIS, UNDP, ADB, World Bank and other international organizations.
156. On the whole, the legal basis for the reforms has been established. In 1999, the Law on Civil Service was adopted, establishing the structure of the civil service and the legal status of civil servants. The following documents have been approved:
The Register of Civil Service Positions aimed at improving effectiveness of state personnel policy, ensuring uniform qualification requirements for civil servants. According to this, the number of senior positions has been decreased, which provided the opportunity to decrease an excessive bureaucratic superstructure, as well as to reduce the number of political appointees.
The regulations on the attestation of civil servants, competition for filling in vacancies of government posts and qualifications exams.
The regulations on the procedure for formation and functioning of the civil service staff reserve, on promotion of civil servants, as well as on the procedure for awarding civil service grades.
As a result of implementation of these decisions, the competitive system for filling civil service vacancies and their attestation has become mandatory. Announcements about the competition on filling vacancies are published in central mass media and on the Internet.
157. An improved system of salaries paid to civil servants has been introduced. Motivation for career promotion has been increased through linking salaries and the level of responsibility, the link to the minimum salary has been eliminated and salaries have become differentiated depending on the status of the government body. Supplementary payments have been introduced. At the end of 2000, the minimum staffing norms of civil servants in management structures, formal structure of government posts, maximum number of deputy heads of government bodies and local government administrations have been approved. These measures have promoted further optimization of the operations of government bodies. In the process of work on the structure of central and local government administrative bodies carried out in 2001, aimed at improvement of efficiency and flexibility of management, and elimination of excessive bureaucracy, the number of civil servants has been reduced by 6.4 percent.
158. Issues of a moral and ethnical nature are the most important for improvement of the civil service. In the beginning of 2001, the Decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, On the Principles of Ethics of the Civil Servants of the Kyrgyz Republic, was signed. Ethics Commissions have been established in all government bodies, the Code of Ethics of Civil Servants has been adopted. Commissions on Ethics carry out preventive work, as well as official investigations of the facts of violation of professional ethical standards of managers and civil servants. To increase the accountability of local authorities for observance of ethical standards, as well as for the purpose of coordination of this work, oblast, city and rayon commissions on ethics of civil and municipal servants have been established. They include representatives of local administrations, LSGs, non-government organizations and the public. As a result, a corporate network of commissions of ethics of civil and municipal servants has been established, which carries out the work on formulation and control over the ethical standards of the staff working in state bodies and LSG bodies.
159. Civil servants have begun using broader information and communication technologies in their activities. A unified Internet website of the civil service of the Kyrgyz Republic has been put in place. Centers for public access to the State Information Network has been established in the regions, which creates conditions for greater openness of the civil service, direct contacts with the public and feedback. Civil servants, including top-level officials, are provided with training in the new information technologies. At the same time, the use of new information management technologies in management is still inefficient. Paper technology still remains to be the major one for many public administration bodies. With the reduced number of personnel, this results in reduction of effectiveness of civil servants.
160. Nevertheless, it is becoming more obvious, that the whole system of the civil service requires deeper reforms. Legislation still does not make a clear differentiation between civil servants and politically appointed officials, which impedes conducting an effective policy of social protection of career civil servants, allows for their unjustified dismissals and appearance of frequently changed political appointees. A not sufficiently high professional level of the staff of the civil services is demonstrated by a low efficiency of their work many of them are not competent enough, inert, slowly adapt to rapidly changing conditions and needs of the society. The potential for analytical work by civil servants remains low, including the analysis of consequences and results of decisions making at the level of central public administrative bodies. Their knowledge and skills in the area of forecasting economic, social and political processes are extremely inadequate. These problems are more typical for civil servants working in local administrations and at the level of local communities.
An effective mechanism for screening unskilled and unqualified workers has not yet been formed in the system of public administration. Reduction in the number of civil servants in administrative organs results in aggravation of the problems of personnel recruitment and retaining. At the same time, the civil service still maintains a significant number of employees who demonstrate their inability and lack of readiness to work under new market conditions. The management of government bodies does not always adequately support implementation of the system of competitive selection of civil servants; the competitions are often held only nominally. All this results in deterioration of the internal capacity of public administration bodies, and low-quality execution of the tasks assigned to them
The number of young people with contemporary education employed in the civil services, especially in local administrations, is still small. This problem is also aggravated by the fact that many specialists, who were educated in the universities of Kyrgyzstan and abroad, having majored in public administration and management, do not work in public administration bodies and budgetary organizations.
There is a gender misbalance due to inadequate representation of women in various posts of the civil service.
161. The system of training and qualification upgrading of civil servants has not been well established. At present not all civil servants have the opportunity for professional development, as a majority of government bodies do not allocate financial resources for training and re-training of their staff.
162. Effective mechanisms of interaction of the public administration machinery with the civil society have not been fully developed yet. In many respects it still has a voluntary character. Insufficient openness and accountability of the civil service depends on the fact that there are still no legally stipulated mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in activities of the employees of public administration bodies of all levels. The potential of mass media and ICT is used insufficiently.
163. Government bodies continue to preserve bureaucratic methods when resolving the pressing problems of citizens, resulting in deterioration of the quality of public services provided to the population, and persistent corruptive nature of some government officials. The existing procedures for direct payment for licenses, penalties and execution of other regulatory functions, promote corruption among civil servants. This has an especially negative impact on development of the private sector and improvement of the investment climate. Arbitrariness of officials, their negligence when carrying out their official duties, form a negative image of the civil service, and create an atmosphere of mistrust in the effectiveness of reforms.
An analysis of repeated complaints to higher public administration bodies and their number indicate that the solution of 70 percent of the issues raised in appeals of the citizens often rest within the direct functions of local state administrations and LSGs, ministries, state committees and administrative departments. It is necessary to radically change the attitude of officials to their work in providing service to the community, work with complains and appeals of the citizens. The task of bringing about radical changes in the value systems operating within the state machinery, amending the style and methods of work of the civil servants, has not been fulfilled yet.
Existing capacities, in particular, improvement of the regulatory and legal framework and support from the public and mass media are not fully used when fighting against corruption. Anti-corruption activities are weakly coordinated, as there is no body independent of the executive authorities dealing with the issues of corruption. A majority of embezzlements committed by civil servants are connected in particular with the fact that the size of their salaries is significantly lower than that of the competitive level in the private sector. Notwithstanding some increase in the salaries of civil servants and their differentiation, they remain low compared with salaries in the private sector.
164. The institutional base for conducting personnel management policy is weak, which is the reason for insufficient coordination of development of the civil services at the central and local levels. A comprehensive, nation-wide system of personnel management has not been established yet. There are no effective schemes of training and re-training of specialists, or a fair procedure of selection and their carrier promotion and guaranteed social protection. A uniform databank on the personnel and human resources of the country has not been established yet. Personnel units of government bodies mainly execute passive functions of record keeping.
165. The major goal of reforming the civil service is establishment of an open, professional, accountable body of public servants effectively executing functions of the State for the benefit of its citizens.
166. Key priorities for development of the civil service are the following:
strengthen the institutional base of the civil service;
improve public confidence in the state machinery;
ensure attraction of professional staff to the civil service;
improve the level of protection and prestige of civil servants;  
orient the civil service to service provision and upgrade the quality of services;  
introduce preventative anti-corruption measures; and
strengthen executive discipline of civil servants.
167. A new concept of personnel policy will be developed and adopted that will serve as a basis for a civil service structure that envisages:
Establishment of an effective system of continuous training, re-training and upgrading qualification of civil servants, including organization of permanent training courses on modern methods of management, development of leadership qualities, techniques of public dialogue and conflict resolution, use of ICT capacities. Assistance of international organizations, in particular, TACIS, UNDP, World Bank will be used for this purpose.
Development and implementation of mechanisms of financial support for all areas of the civil service reform, including professional training and qualification upgrading.
Inventory taking of regulatory and legal instruments on conditions of labor compensation, identification of outdated provisions, preparation of necessary draft laws and reforming the salary system for civil servants that includes the introduction of the system of competitive recruitment and promotion of civil servants. A possibility of a transfer from the standard system of labor compensation to a contract based one will be considered.
Implementation of measures aimed at improvement of the level of partnership and confidence of the community in the state machinery and civil servants, increase of the prestige of the civil service.
Consideration of the issue on feasibility of establishment of a government structure responsible for the management of human resources of the civil service, coordination of efforts on development of the civil service system in the country. It is planned to restructure the personnel units of government structures into personnel management services, making them responsible for forecasting and planning of the needs for personnel, organization of work on assessment and formation of the reserve, training, attestation, professional carrier planning, rational use of the staff.
168. Salaries of the staff of public administration bodies will be increased in parallel with the rationalization of the structure of government bodies. Budgetary funds, released as result of abolition of duplicating and ineffective government bodies, as well as reduction in the number of civil servants, will be used to increase salaries to civil servants and arrange for the process of their re-training.
169. Quotas will be introduced to attract young personnel to the civil service on the basis of open and transparent competition. National competitions for recruitment to the civil service will be held for university graduates and youth.
Conditions will be created to provide for growth of womens employment in the civil services.
170. Regulatory and legal instruments will be improved, developed and adopted to ensure a clear differentiation between political and administrative posts, improve personnel management practices, openness and accountability of civil servants to the society. It is planned to develop and adopt the Law on Administrative Procedures. In order to ensure stability of a professional civil service and protect civil servants from administrative arbitrariness, the procedure of appeal against subjective personnel decisions will be improved.
171. It is intended to conduct purposeful and active work on fighting against corruption among civil servants. For this purpose, a broad anti-corruption coalition will be established with participation of NGOs, entrepreneurial circles and mass media. The work of commissions on observance of ethical standards by the staff of government bodies and LSGs will be intensified. These committees will conduct meetings with participation of representatives from the public. ICT capacities will be used actively to reduce bureaucracy and increase transparency of the processes of adoption and implementation of management decisions at all levels of public administration, including with the use of new information technologies. This will provide the possibility for strengthen two-way communication between public administrative bodies and the community, introduce public control over activities of the government machinery, will stimulate business initiatives of the private sector and the civil society, and reduction of poverty in the country.
172. The recently adopted Law on the Ombudsman shall ensure protection of the citizens rights from illegal actions on the part of civil servants. In this connection, it is planned to form a supporting infrastructure for this law and ensure conditions for its effective work in the very near future.
173. Comprehensive reforming of the civil service will be carried out with the support of the World Bank within the framework of the projects GSAC/GTAC. An agreement has been reached with the World Bank to secure all possible assistance in such areas as:
Improvement of the Law on the Civil Service and related regulations for the purpose of clear distinction of political and administrative posts, strengthening of stability and improvement of personnel management practices.
Strengthening of organizational civil service management mechanisms at the central and regional levels, implementation of necessary measures to bring the status of the civil service to a qualitatively new level.
Development of a mid-term strategy for reforming the volume, structure and composition of the civil services.
174. It is intended that in 2002 the number of civil servants will be again reduced by 5 percent.
The aims of the whole complex of tasks to be undertaken by the forthcoming further reform of the civil service will be to promote the attainment of the goals of the administrative reform, bringing the civil service into line with public expectations, improve professionalism of civil servants and effectiveness of their performance.