Administrative reform: where the dismissed official may go

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Administrative reform: where the dismissed official may go
Administrative reform: where the dismissed official may go
20 January, 18:48EconomyPhoto: urgapro.ru
On January 1, 2021, an administrative reform began in Russia. Downsizing of the state apparatus is an important part of public administration reform. And although the cuts have begun, who will fall under the knife remains unclear.

Prime Minister Mishustin said that 5% of employees of federal ministries and departments will actually be fired, in the regions - 10%.

Yelena Ivanova, Natalia Seibil

In total, 32 thousand civil servants will be cut in 2021, such a plan has already been signed by Prime Minister Mishustin.

There are many complaints about the Russian state machine, its inefficiency is obvious. The states are bloated, deputy ministers are a dime a dozen, in many ministries and departments there are dead structural divisions, functions are duplicated all the time. There are departments in different ministries that perform the same tasks, so there is no sense in them, says Nikita Maslennikov, economist, director of the information department of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs:

"Let's say that agrochemistry is given to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and at the same time to the Ministry of Energy. The same story for petrochemicals. There is a huge amount of overlap, which, apart from duplication of functions and dilution of responsibility, brings nothing to anyone.

In addition to the number of vacancies in government bodies at the federal and regional levels - there are 20,000 of them - and the number of redundant jobs across the country - 32,000 - very little is known about the government's plans. It is necessary to clear the clearing by April 1, however, even after the announced start of reforms, little is known about specific plans. In the ministries and departments themselves, the process is just starting, but in the government apparatus, restructuring has already been carried out. Bureaucratic monster, department 1-1, which united energy, transport, industry, is now divided into three departments. On the one hand, this is correct. On the other hand, instead of one head of the department and his deputies, several appeared. Finally, a consolidated analytical department has been created, on which the expert community has insisted for many years, because the number of analytical functions, forecasting and program vision must grow in the government apparatus. But this adds personnel, not reduces it".

Tatiana Abankina, Director of the Institute for Public Resources Management, National Research University Higher School of Economics, believes:

- I think that reductions will not even be at the level of deputy ministers and heads of departments, but at the level of heads of departments and specialists. This is, of course, the working staff. But, as we know, in order to cut the head of the department, it is necessary to liquidate the department. There is no other way. But the liquidation of departments, their merger - I have not seen that this was planned. Nobody announced this publicly.

Most likely, employees will be removed in lower positions. With the current level of communication technology, they are easy to replace. In terms of wages, any software solution is cheaper than keeping officials. However, there will be no more money from the cuts. According to the government plan, the salaries of government officials will only increase, however, due to a decrease in bonuses and bonuses.

The dismissed can go to private companies, but there is no reason to hope that they will roll out the red carpet. Officials are people who work only with documents and papers. Modern companies are now working much faster, people in responsible positions make decisions much faster than government officials. In companies that are connected with the real economy, with technological processes, they will have a hard time. Official work experience alone is not enough, because such employees did not work with real business processes. Now in the labor market there is a demand for very high-class managers, narrow specialists with precise competencies.

"If we are talking about management activities, then these are those who know how to work with Big Data, with big data, with digital technologies. Our officials are not distinguished by such high qualifications in this area. The entire state apparatus in many ways works in the old-fashioned way", - notes Tatyana Abankina.

There are few options for officials to adapt to a “post-official” life. Some of them will end up on the street, others will be transferred from ministries to subordinate institutions: to state unitary enterprises and FBSU, where salaries are lower and there are no state pensions, said political scientist, president of the Center for the Development of Regional Policy Ilya Grashchenkov. But these are exactly the people who work with the population. Ultimately, the state machine at the grassroots level will only weaken. There are fears that the government is carrying out the clearance for completely different reasons:

- Most likely, this is just technology, with its help Mishustin will be able to increase his influence within the government, as well as weaken his competitors. Any savings associated with the reduction of the state apparatus always led to the opposite - its growth.

There have been many attempts to reduce the state apparatus over the past decades. They always ended the same way - there were only more officials. Nikita Maslennikov says:

"During the work of the Medvedev government, the project principles were declared, but not implemented. There was an old system that was slightly tinted, powdered, plastered, the facades were renewed, but in fact nothing changed".

There is hope in the new government that the prime minister, who changed the work of the entire tax system, can use the same technological basis within the framework of managing the entire national economy. The success of the tax department is obvious: the tax monitoring system is used by companies, which account for a third of GDP.

On the other hand, the workflow is only growing. As soon as we talk about the transition to the rule of law, the number of regulatory documents increases. Accordingly, the apparatus is increasing, which will check that everyone is working in accordance with these documents. A decision has now been made to conduct a “regulatory guillotine” to try to abolish outdated documents across all industries.

"The "regulatory guillotine" is proceeding rather slowly and not radically. There are MFCs, personal accounts, but paper documents are required everywhere", - explains Tatyana Abankina.

Headhunters are excited about the influx of new forces in the labor market. Any appearance of fresh blood increases competition. Maria Ignatova, HeadHunter Research Director, knows how difficult it is now to find a good manager. In a crisis and post-crisis period, companies need to return to their previous tracks, and knowledgeable people will need:

- The official - who is he? Considering that many are moving from business to government bodies, in principle, the opposite movement is also possible.

What must be avoided is that the good deed does not turn into cleansing. When an employee used to be disliked by his boss, he received fewer bonuses and bonuses. Now the situation is more severe, dissatisfied and unwanted people can easily lose their jobs on the wave of populism and the struggle against the swelling bureaucracy.

Ilya Grashchenkov opposes the indiscriminate denial of bureaucracy as a class:

"Of course, the civil service should exclude such purges. Still, people give their lives to the state and must have certain guarantees. Our people have somehow developed hatred of officials, we consider them drones. But this is far from the case, among them there are many experienced and truly important employees".

So far, the government's dream of digitalization as a panacea for the vices of the system is being implemented in small steps. This is just the beginning. Let's see where this leads.

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