May 4, 2021
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Officials have prepared a reform of themselves

If you believe the work of federal-level experts from the Central Dispatching Center and the RANEPA, officials in Russia do not work well because they are too tightly controlled and paid too little. More money should be allocated for the civil service, and less control should be made – then the officials will feel good. Whether it will be good for the people for whose lives they are responsible is unclear.

On the eve of the “Labor Day” on May 1, the media got a note “Personnel Policy in the Civil Service: Current Problems and Necessary Changes”, prepared by the Center for Advanced Management Solutions (CPMS) with the support of the Center for the Training of Digital Transformation Leaders of the Higher School of Economics RANEPA, ECOPSY Consulting and the research group “ZIRCON”. A bunch of beautiful names brings together a large group of experts who propose to change the legislation on the civil service, change the remuneration system and reform HR departments.

Official’s first dream: control us less

The proposed changes, of course, are linked to the plans to optimize the activities of the Russian government, which Mikhail Mishustin intends to implement, but they are not at all similar to these plans.

First of all, according to RBC, the experts of the Central Dispatching Center say nothing at all about the reduction in the number of the state apparatus and officials in general. Instead, it is about giving officials more freedom to determine for themselves what is important and what is unimportant in their activities and, most importantly, what salaries they should receive. The note states that “the systems of personnel management and organization of work in the civil service are too regulated by law. In addition, the requirements specified in the laws for candidates for civil service are very outdated.” In this regard, it is proposed to “revise the requirements for candidates and give the opportunity to state bodies themselves to establish these requirements.”

Aside from the “expert language” and say the same in the usual human manner, the CPDD proposes to fulfill the long-held secret dream of any bureaucrat: to make each department decide for itself how to evaluate its work – both in general and at the level of each individual performer.

The approach is not surprising at all, given that, according to Mikhail Komin, the director of research of the CPDD, in a comment to RBC, “the expert note was based on about 20 expert interviews that were taken from representatives of federal executive authorities (federal executive bodies), which either head HR -departments, or are the deputy head of the authority that oversees personnel issues.

That is, the basis of the study on how to make the work of officials more effective was the opinion of the officials themselves. And the officials – that’s a surprise – said that they should be controlled less, the requirements for their activities should be simplified, but, on the contrary, they should be paid more.

Interestingly, at least one reasonable person, without any research, could have assumed that they would say something else?

Official’s second dream: give more money

In addition to changing the rules, the CPDD proposes to raise salaries for officials, since “employees who occupy positions up to the deputy director of the federal executive department receive salaries below the average salary of executives in the commercial sector in Moscow”, as well as raise the base level of salaries for all civil servants.

“Below the average level in the commercial sector of Moscow” – sounds, of course, terrible and raises thoughts that in this situation, no one of their own free will want to be an official. However, you need to understand that in fact, the average salary of civilian federal officials, according to Rosstat, is at least 125 thousand rubles, and in the apparatus of the Russian government – about 240 thousand rubles.

Of course, when calculating the average salary, the salaries of top managers are also taken into account, but still it is impossible to say that officials in Russia earn little money: the average accrued salary in Moscow, according to very optimistic estimates, amounted to 95 thousand rubles in 2020, the median * The salary in the capital is 55 thousand rubles, the average salary in Russia is 51 thousand rubles, the median one is 35 thousand rubles.

Average salary for federal officials, rubles


Average accrued salary in Moscow


Median salary in Moscow


Average accrued salary in Russia


Median patch in Russia


* The median salary is the value that divides all employees into two equal parts: half of the employees have a salary higher than this amount, and the other half – lower.

It is not difficult to imagine how ordinary, innocent Russian people will react to reports about the next increase in the salaries of officials. In the best case, with indignation. The implementation of the CPDS’s proposals is fraught with an increase in social tension – in the opinion of the author of these lines, there simply cannot be any other assessment.

Money up, work down

However, the oddities of the “note” of the TsSPD in terms of official salaries are not limited to the proposal to increase the already high salaries. Everything is much more interesting.

As the editor of the expert memorandum, general director of the CPDD Maria Shklyaruk clarified to Izvestia, “the salary of civil servants consists of fixed and mixed payments. Fixed payments include: salary – 8.2%, allowances – 28.5%, other payments subject to indexation – 14% and the indexation itself – 0.4%. At the same time, 45.5% of mixed payments are payments that are not subject to indexation, and 1.4% are bonuses for special tasks. From a formal point of view, officials have a small salary and there are many allowances, but in practice they receive a relatively large fixed salary. “

The CPDD experts propose to change this: let the fixed part of the salary be 70%, and bonuses 30%, but award bonuses only on “achievement of key performance indicators.”

Considering that, as we saw above, the rules by which the department lives should be determined by the department itself, in practice the implementation of the CPDD’s proposal will look like this: all the money allocated for awards will remain at the level at which the awards are distributed. And the officials who actually prepare the necessary documents and generally pull all the work on themselves, will receive almost less than they receive now, because the bosses will always find something to find fault with in their work.

The “reform” that experts are talking about is needed to improve the efficiency of the civil service and to stimulate officials to work better. But if you follow the recommendations of the “note”, the result will be the opposite.

The goal is to destroy the authorities?

The cherry on the cake of a note from the Central Control Center, which almost immediately catches the reader’s eye, is a demand to change the “corridor-office organization of space”, that is, to transplant most ordinary performers into huge halls, to deprive them of the opportunity to somehow equip their personal space at work – for example, as it is done now, according to the Western model, in most commercial firms.

This last requirement, in my opinion, demonstrates the true purpose of the CPDD proposals – they are aimed not at improving, but at destroying the work of federal executive bodies.

Judge for yourself. The literal implementation of these recommendations will make the official, on the one hand, less controllable: the requirements for his work will not be spelled out in a federal law external to the department, but formulated by the department itself. This is at the top level, where decisions are made in the department. At the lower level, an official who receives hardly a higher salary than now, along with the salary, will receive a completely inconvenient work organization, along with a lack of motivation, constant nagging of the bosses and discontent of ordinary people.

Perhaps, if you do everything in Tspurov’s way, then the most competent officials from the departments will indeed run to commercial structures, even if they do not pay so well there.

There was such an old anecdote about how a new chief comes to a certain department. He wants to optimize everything, and first he gets to know the team. Who’s sitting here? Can anyone be cut? It is impossible, they answer him, here they pretend to be working, Wives of Very Important People. Okay, let’s not cut these, let’s move on, but who is here? Here are the Children of Very Important People. Okay, and we don’t cut these, let’s move on, what kind of flower garden is here? Mistresses of Very Important People. But there, in a couple of the last wretched little offices, you can cut people down. There we have Accidentally Surviving Competent Executors. It’s not a pity for them.

I read in the press about the note of the Central Dispatching Center and the discussion of it, and I think: were these proposals made by the pests, or were they just characters from this anecdote?

Andrey Perla

Photo: Viktor Chernov / Russian Look / Globallookpress

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