The reform of French civil service at top and senior management level is an opportunity to transform current structures in a way that would better meet the needs of both civil servants and public employers. The main pillars and expected outcomes of the reform were the focus of EIPA’s board meeting held earlier in June and attended by EIPA’s Board of Governors and the EUPAN network.
The first step, as announced by President Macron, involves a reform of the National School of Administration (École Nationale d’Administration, ENA), which will be transformed into the National Institute of Public Service (Institut du Service Public, ISP) with the aim of being more representative of French society. The second step entails a merger of both bodies to create simpler, fairer, and more attractive career structures. The last stage of the reform focuses on providing individual support and career advice to top-level civil servants. The fourth pillar, focusing on creating common criteria for career structures at top-level civil service, is still in development.
‘Greater mobility and exchange within the European civil service but also with the private sector will be needed in order to achieve results. More inclusion and greater openness to the academic world will also be the key to success,’ concluded Marco Ongaro, the Director-General of EIPA.
The reform, closely followed by most EU member states, is a necessary step in departing from a structure in which civil servants are permanently assigned to one function or sector. However, it also seeks to keep the best aspects of the ENA brand in order to create a common culture among senior officials.