NEWS

Scant progress in digitizing public administration

YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS

TAGS: Politics, Economy

In a strong confirmation of failed efforts to overhaul Greece’s oversized and dysfunctional state sector, only a tiny fragment of government agencies have so far submitted information about their structure and staffing, Kathimerini understands. 

The creation of the so-called digital organizational chart, a database in a central portal where each agency has to register its own data, was meant to be part of the so-called mobility scheme for state workers – a scheme that the Ministry for Administrative Reform had said would come into full effect by July 1, 2017.  

Responding to a parliamentary question by New Democracy MP Giorgos Georgantas on January 11, minister Olga Gerovasili said that only nine of a total 1,730 agencies had submitted the necessary information. 

According to government sources, that figure has since risen to 16. However, the data is only accessible to senior public administration officials. 

“The digital organizational chart must be comprehensive and compulsory, and cover the structure and personnel,” Georgantas told Kathimerini, adding that the system could strengthen public administration efficiency, while also enabling journalists and taxpayers to better monitor the operation of the state sector. 

“Regrettably, what the government is doing is just an empty gesture. It’s not genuine structural reform,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the digitization process only involves agencies in the mobility scheme. As a result, it fails to curb the phenomenon of “invisible” employees who are still on the state’s payroll. 

According to data from the Labor Ministry’s Ergani system that monitors hirings, the number of public agencies rose from 227 in 2015 to 374 in 2017.

Meanwhile, ministry data show that the number of civil servants went up from 686,824 in December 2015 to 712,716 in October 2017.

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