Rethinking the public service bargain the changing legal position of civil servants in europe
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Rethinking the Public Service Bargain: The Changing (Legal) Position of Civil Servants in Europe. Astana Economic Forum May 22, 2013. Dr. Caspar Van Den Berg. Introduction.

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Rethinking the Public Service Bargain: The Changing (Legal) Position of Civil Servants in Europe

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Rethinking the public service bargain the changing legal position of civil servants in europe

Rethinking the Public Service Bargain: The Changing (Legal) Position of Civil Servants in Europe

Astana Economic Forum

May 22, 2013

Dr. Caspar Van Den Berg


Introduction

Introduction

Point of departure: perceived pressure on the so-called ‘traditional’ public law formulation of the position of CS in various European countries.

How does this play out in 12+ European countries?

How do countries reconcile 2 opposing sets of demands:

  • Managerial: effectiveness, efficiency, flexibility, managerial discretion

  • Weberian: integrity, non-discrimination, rule-based conduct, risk-avoidance and frugality


Crossroads of cs employment

Crossroads of CS employment

  • Left turn: reinforcing the distinct nature approach: there is a specific character to working for the gvt vis-à-vis working in the private sector

  • Right turn: reinforcing the harmonization approach: there is (or should be) no fundamental difference between a job performed for the gvt and a job performed for a private corporation.


Public sector bargains hood 2001 hood and lodge 2006

Public Sector Bargains (Hood, 2001; Hood and Lodge, 2006)

  • SystemicBargains

    • Consociationalbargain

    • Hegelianbargain

  • PragmaticBargains

    • Schafferianbargain

    • Hybridbargain

    • Managerial bargain

      Hood: A shift is occurringfromSchafferianbargainsto Managerial bargains


Crucial points for comparative research

Crucial points for comparative research

  • Within each country, there is a terminological challenge when it comes to the definition of gvt personnel, civil servants, and civil servants status.

  • This challenge multiplies when cross-national comparison is concerned: Civil servant, Beamte, Fonctionnaire, Ambtenaar.

  • The Civil Servant does not exist: CS as public officials; specify their type of appointment and relation to the state and state power.


The turn to the right

The Turn to the Right

  • NL, DK, SV, IT, CH

  • NL: public law status under pressure because of desire to flexibilise appointments and deprivilege CS.

  • Social security arrangements have been equalized with the private sector, but:

  • No actual abolition of the civil service states, rather a revival of attention for the Weberian principles of bureaucracy.


Maintaining the bargain

Maintaining the Bargain

  • DE, BE, FR

  • BE: Vast majority of gvt personnel has a statutory appointment under public law.

  • Others work on contract basis. This proportion grew until 2005, but is now stable at 27% at federal level.

  • Labour conditions have been harmonized, but the values such as ethics, impartiality and civil service professionalism have progressively become part to the discussion.


The turn to the left

The Turn to the Left

  • East European countries, UK

  • UK: Traditionally a state without statutory civil service provisions.

  • Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, inspired by lack of clarity how roles and responsibilities should be fulfilled after NPM-style reforms.

  • Core values of the civil service are now codified in law.

  • Contrary to privatizing reforms in IT, SV, DK.


Discussion i trends in rethinking the bargain

Discussion I: Trends in rethinking the Bargain

  • The discussion about the (legal) position of CS may seem a national debate, but is part of a general debate all across Europe.

  • No one-directional trend away from the Schafferian and towards the managerial bargain, it’s more complicated!

  • Cross-national convergence to the middle: distinct nature and harmonization approaches combine.


Discussion ii

Discussion II

  • The two sets of demands (material labour conditions AND the values of bureaucracy) have become increasingly independent from one other.

  • To what extent are Weberian-style labour conditions conditional for high levels of Weberian values of bureaucracy?


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