Civil service still fails to please

Despite several efforts at reform over the past two decades, Greeks still have a very poor opinion of the bureaucratic public administration system, according to a new Athens University survey. The poll of 4,342 people living in Athens and its close environs – home to nearly one in two Greeks – by Athens University’s Department of Administrative Science found that, on a scale of one to 100, the average respondent gave public administration the mark of 56.1. «Public administration in Greece does not have the image it ought to have,» Professor Antonis Makridimitris – a prime-ministerial aide on public administration who organized the survey – told Kathimerini. «The inertia of such a vast organization, which has been established for so many years, is so powerful that it can have not only a negative effect on government reform efforts, but may also to a certain degree derail or totally annul such bids.» Asked for their overall opinion of the public administration system, 43 percent of respondents expressed strong discontent, 29.5 percent had a neutral view and only 27.4 percent expressed satisfaction. Most respondents (35.4 percent) said they came into contact with state bureaucracy at least once a month, while 15.8 percent visited a civil service department at least once a week. For 20 percent, the frequency of contact was two or three times every six months, while 10.6 percent only had dealings with the civil service once or twice a year. Respondents generally conceded that the civil service is understaffed, while employees are poorly trained, badly paid and not given a clear mandate. Nevertheless, most said none of this sufficed to excuse the poor overall performance.

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