NEWS

Pressure to mount for civil servants

Civil servants, famed for their uncooperative nature, could soon be brought to book if they do not serve the public properly after the Inner Cabinet yesterday approved proposals to regulate their sector. The 35-point plan was presented by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and will be publicly unveiled tomorrow. One of the suggested measures gives the minister unprecedented powers to intervene if he believes civil servants are offering citizens a service that is not adequate. Bureaucrats who fail to provide information to citizens requiring it will, for the first time, be subject to disciplinary measures under the new proposals. The person in charge of each department will also have the power to fine his employees up to a sixth of their monthly wage for falling foul of the new disciplinary measures. This is not the first effort to force civil servants to smarten up their act. Last year the Interior Ministry worked with the ombudsman to produce a «Good Behavior Guide,» which, among other things, advised bureaucrats to greet citizens politely and not to eat, smoke, read books or talk on their mobile phones while dealing with inquiries. However, the proposals also aim to increase flexibility in the civil service by making it easier for employees to be moved to different departments to suit the state’s needs at any given time.