Toughen Standards for Civil Service Tenure, Reform Panel Recommends

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Civil servants would have to wait five years before receiving tenure, and it wouldn't be given out automatically, recommends the committee tasked with overhauling Israel's civil service.

Instead, only the employees with the best performance records would receive tenure, state the recommendations of the committee, which was formed based on the recommendations of the Trajtenberg committee for economic change. Currently, civil servants receive tenure automatically after two years on the job.

In addition, raises would not be issued automatically based on seniority, but rather based on performances.

These are the committee's two main recommendations, which were handed to the cabinet yesterday. The cabinet is expected to vote on the report in one of its upcoming meetings.

The committee believes these reforms will not only influence the quality of the public service but could also boost Israel's productivity, while making the public sector more efficient and service-oriented.

The committee, led by Public Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan, recommends reforms in five spheres: making tenure based on performance and not granting it automatically; making salary based on performance; making the hiring process more efficient and expanding the pool of potential employees; limiting the terms of the most senior civil servants; and fast-tracking advancement for excellent workers.

These recommendations are intended to address a series of problems with the public sector. The committee's report contains examples of poor employment practices, such as the fact that employees' value is not determined by their performance or skills; only 44% of employees reported receiving feedback from their boss; an employee's value has no bearing on the employee's advancement or compensation; more than NIS 500 million is being paid via antiquated salary practices; rewards for excellence are not actually based on excellence; there's very little turnover among managers - some 36% have been in their jobs for 12 years on average - preventing the ranks from being reinvigorated; bureaucracy weighs on the hiring process - it takes an average of nine months to hire an employee, including five months until the person is chosen in a tender process and another four months until the person actually starts the job.

Having an effective public sector is crucial for both citizens and the business sector, states the report. The report includes more than 50 recommendations in total. It focuses on the need for drawing quality manpower into the public sector, and for creating clear means of advancement and authority.

After the report receives approval from the government, it is expected to launch negotiations with the Histadrut labor federation and other unions in order to put the recommendations into practice.

The committee was established in November 2011 in keeping with the recommendations of the Trajtenberg committee for economic change, in order to adapt the civil service to suit citizens' needs. Dayan's committee concluded that citizens' needs are not being met due to a lack of efficiency, effectiveness and quality service. The report calls for initially implementing the reform as a pilot program at four government ministries. A year and a half later, the program would be expanded to the rest of the civil service. It also calls for a committee to meet in three years to determine whether the reform has met its goals.

Outgoing Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan.

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