Effort culture and Public Administration

Written by Joan Vila Pont - Published on the 5 July 2010
"Las cosas de Palacio van siempre muy despacio", “It all takes time”. This is what we have always said about Public Administration.
"Las cosas de Palacio van siempre muy despacio", (“It all takes time”). Be patient. This is what my grandfather said when he went into any formality in the “CASA GRANDE” (“BIG HOUSE”), in other words, public Administration. He spoke in Spanish, as it was the official language in Catalonia, despite he was Catalan through and through. He complaint about how slowly and complicated her problems get solved. “They are very busy and no one can hurry them”, said. That was a long time ago, but I’ll always remember my grandpa words and I think that up to a point today they still in force. Sometimes any management in the public Administration offices gets really complicated, unpleasant and overall slow.

However, it is true that public employees are “so busy”? Are they really motivated to do their job properly? I would like to express this question through a “plebiscite”, however I it is not worth to waste our time. It is easy to imagine the majority opinion. Effort it is not the mainly quality of our public Administration, quite the opposite. To get a job in the public Administration, is for many people a stability guarantee, an easy way to survive and a “safe job” kept with the minimum effort.

In order to solve our requirements and requests, public Administration disposes of all kind of laws, regulations and procedures, always draw up in a “BIBLICAL” way that means, unclear and comprehensible in a thousand ways. Therefore in order to write a regulation, to understand unclear concepts, write additional regulations to the original one, a lot of employees are required. Sometimes, I got the feeling that the efficiency, the financial cost and the user waste of time is the less important thing. In this time of crisis, the lack of efficiency and effort to do things easier can have ill effects.

The other day I read an interview to Mr. Oriol Amat, head of Financial Department in the Pompeu Fabra University. He answered to one of the questions as follows: “With efficiency, the Estate will get a surplus with the present level of gate. Public sector represents almost 50% of economy and in different studies made during lasts years, we obtain that the cost of public management is 30% and 50% over than required. Productivity is very low and absenteeism is very high.” Then he insists. “They spend 100 for 87 € gated but with a efficient management and less absenteeism this expenses could be reduced between 20 or 30 per cent, to do the same and better than now.” I am not a financial and even less political management expert, however and according to my experience, I am rather identified with Mr. Amat words.

I you are part of our public Administration, I kindly ask you to make the effort to contribute to a better and easier management. We will be very grateful. Wise you up.