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Economy

New Legislation to Make Greek Public-Sector Hiring Faster and More Objective

September 6, 2020

ATHENS — A new draft bill that is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament in October will radically change the current system for public-sector hiring via the Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP), which was first introduced in 1994 to eliminate phenomena of clientelism and political patronage.

The changes aim to make the system faster, more efficient and enhance meritocracy, introducing elements of digitalisation while retaining the objectivity of the selection process first established 26 years ago and ensuring that the "right person for the right job" is chosen.

The new legislation being prepared at the interior ministry will abolish the separate proclamations issued by ASEP for each agency and service and replace this with a single written examination each year for the hiring of all civil servants based on the needs of the entire public sector.

The written tests will be carried out online, adopting a similar system to the nationwide university entrance exams, with collaboration between ASEP and the education and digital governance ministries where required, and consist of three parts: special fields of knowledge, skills and personality.

Candidates will sit the exams on specialised areas of knowledge based on the position they are applying for, while the skills and personality examinations will uniform for all candidates based on educational category.

The exam questions will be selected by special software from a "bank" of approved exam questions prepared by ASEP, similar to that used by the education ministry for university entrance exams.

The results will create a "reservoir" of candidates from which ASEP will select the staff that are appointed each year, based on the specific needs of each agency, with performance in the written exam being the main criterion, rather than educational qualifications on paper.

According to interior ministry officials, the emphasis will be more on use of knowledge, skills and work experience, while all processes will be electronic and eliminate the human factor and even most formal educational qualifications will be cross-checked online.

The entire process is envisioned to have an annual cycle, with public-sector agencies notifying the interior ministry of their staff requirements in January and the cabinet approving the package of hirings for the following year in September, so that the amount of time between a service requesting new staff until appointment is reduced to one year from the current two. Once the bill is passed, the changes are expected to start being implemented in the first quarter of 2022.

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