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Epso development programme

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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The European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) creation was based in a context of both, great change in EU history, with the enlargement from 15 to 25 and subsequently to 27 Member States, and of modernisation of the European public administration. EPSO successfully met the Institutions’ increased demand for competitions to enable enlargement recruitment, but it was clear that the old selection system had several weaknesses: a lack of strategic HR planning led to peaks and troughs in the availability of suitable laureates; the time taken to organise an open competition was too long; the system was almost exclusively based on testing of knowledge and so tended to select people good at getting the job, rather than those who would be good at doing the job.

In an increasingly competitive job market, the European institutions must be able to attract a diverse range of top quality applications and a better, faster, more robust new selection procedure was needed to provide them with the right people at the right time. So EPSO set about developing a strategy to attract the right talent and to position the European public service as an attractive career choice. In 2008 EPSO’s Management Board unanimously approved a series of concrete recommendations for changes in the nature and format of selection procedures – the EPSO Development Programme (EDP).

The agreed aim of EPSO’s far-reaching modernisation programme was to adapt the methods of personnel selection to meet the Institutions’ current and future needs in a more efficient way, while remaining true to the principles of fair and open competition. On 16 March 2010 it launched the first competition for graduate Administrators under the new selection procedure. A cornerstone of the new model is the development of a state-of-the-art IT platform and procedures, linked to the deployment of tailor-made assessment tools and test content. A series of job-relevant competency-based assessment exercises are deployed in a two-phase process (pre-selection and Assessment Centres), to reflect what is required in terms of job performance for different profiles and recruitment levels.

Introducing improved planning and faster and more targeted recruitment, the new system establishes annual competitions for the most common job profiles, thus allowing candidates to plan their applications more effectively and helping strategic human resource planning by the EU Institutions. It shifts the emphasis from knowledge to competency-based assessment. Candidates are tested on a rigorous, objective and fair basis, which allows for immediate statistical feedback and quality control. In this way, EPSO has reformed a significant area of the HR function, in a rational and costefficient way, in order to provide the EU Institutions with a new generation of motivated and talented staff members. In 2010 EPSO completed the implementation of a series of operational improvements at all levels of the organisation, including for example, the introduction of a new online application system for candidates, better provision for candidates having special needs, improvements for candidates’ management of their own personal account, an improved public website and a simplified ‘notice of open competition’ – available in 23 languages.

Award info
Award category: smart public service delivery
Award type: submission
Award year: 2011
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity:
Keywords: Computer-based testing, talent management, competency-based assessment, situational judgment testing, talent screening, streamlining procedures, best practice
Short English description: The agreed aim of EPSO’s far-reaching modernisation programme was to adapt the methods of personnel selection to meet the Institutions’ current and future needs in a more efficient way, while remaining true to the principles of fair and open competition.
Further information
Organisation: EPSO
Other applicants:
Homepage: http://europa.eu/epso/discover/about/mission/index_en.htm
Level of government: EU institutions
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Belgium
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Epso development programme (50.8429879, 4.3857605)
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