Bulgaria – Performance Appraisal, Pay and Career Progression in the State Administration 2001-2004

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Challenge

In line with its objective of securing accession to the European Union, the Government of  Bulgaria committed itself to establishing a politically neutral, career based and accountable state administration that is efficient and fairly rewarded.  The UK Department for International Development supported the Government in its aim to develop a public sector which was better able to plan and deliver public services. Following successful work on performance appraisal and performance pay that PAI had completed in the Bulgarian National Social Security Institute, we were selected by DFID to implement a major three-year project to extend this work to the whole of the state administration in Bulgaria. Specifically, the Council of Ministers needed assistance in designing and introducing a properly structured individual performance appraisal system, integrated with the achievement of organisational objectives, that would provide a proper foundation for career development, underpin career progression as a main component of attestation procedures and promotion and would introduce a direct link between individual pay and performance.

Situation

In line with its objective of securing accession to the European Union, the Government of Bulgaria committed itself to establishing a politically neutral, career based and accountable state administration that is efficient and fairly rewarded. The UK Department for International Development supported the Government in its aim to develop a public sector which was better able to plan and deliver public services. Following successful work on performance appraisal and performance pay that PAI had completed in the Bulgarian National Social Security Institute, we were selected by DFID to implement a major three-year project to extend this work to the whole of the state administration in Bulgaria. Specifically, the Council of Ministers needed assistance in designing and introducing a properly structured individual performance appraisal system, integrated with the achievement of organisational objectives, that would provide a proper foundation for career development, underpin career progression as a main component of attestation procedures and promotion and would introduce a direct link between individual pay and performance.

Activities

Our team of international and local consultants provided consultancy support on:

    • improvements to job description formats for a better basis for introducing performance management
    • Developing a suitable performance appraisal system and assisting in drafting the decree to precede its implementation in the central state administration
    • Developing performance-related pay arrangements, taking account of the recommended performance appraisal scheme and career progression and ranking requirements
    • Recommending changes to relevant legislation, particularly with reference to job grading, attestation, career progression, ranking and pay
    • Designing and delivering in-country project-related training for the Council of Ministers and other local counterpart analysts, including training of trainers. This included preparing trainers from the Institute of Public Administration and European Integration to undertake some of the project-related training because of its large scale
    • Designing and delivering seminars/workshops for managers in determining the nature of changes to be proposed and gaining acceptance for the changes
    • Designing and delivering training for users of the new systems, both managers and staff
    • Organising and delivering study tours for counterpart staff and managers in the central structures chosen for trials of the new systems
    • Monitoring the introduction of the new systems in three pilot Ministries
    • Analysing the application of the new systems and recommending changes to the decrees before rollout to other parts of the central state administration
    • Monitoring and training in developing the capability of HR staff in the Council of Ministers and other central Government agencies for them to be effective in the programme rollout of the new systems
    • Following the pilots in the three Ministries, rolling out the new approaches to performance management, performance appraisal, career progression and performance-related pay to the entire public sector
    • Evaluating progress with the rollout and making relevant recommendations for the future sustainability of the new systems.

Outcomes

The project was very successful as it had been well designed, adequately funded and the three-year time frame was sufficient to allow for training and mentoring of counterparts, tailoring of the new systems to fit the Bulgarian context and needs, thorough piloting in three Ministries prior to rolling out the systems throughout the public sector and monitoring and evaluating the results. The work done by experienced local consultants (about 40% of the inputs) was of great benefit in gaining acceptance of and commitment to the new approaches to HR management. The specific outcomes were:

  • A performance appraisal system developed and implemented by the Council of Ministers and introduced throughout the central state administration
  • Pay structures developed reflecting staff performance
  • A career progression system developed in terms of ranking and promotion between job grades, also reflecting staff performance
  • Analysts and HR managers within the state administration trained to operate the new performance appraisal, career progression and pay systems and to monitor their effectiveness.