European commission job screening

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


Already in 2007 before the financial crisis, the Commission reacted to growing pressure on resources, with a self-commitment to refrain from requesting new posts until 2013 ‘zero growth’. This, together with the Lisbon Treaty and the Europe 2020 strategy assigning new tasks to the institution, set the framework for an initiative to shift the allocation of jobs from horizontal functions covering ‘administrative support and coordination’ to ‘frontline’ activities where they benefit EU citizens directly. A reduction of jobs covering ‘administrative support and coordination’ tasks is one of the primary objectives of the initiative known under the internal working title of ‘European Commission Job Screening’. As a starting point for this exercise, all jobs in the Commission and in the six Executive Agencies are analysed and categorised. Four categories (with several sub-categories) have been established. These are based on the main operational activities of the EC, the support processes and the specific challenges linked to the multi-language and multi-site environment, as well as specific financial and budgetary management to be covered:

  • Operational (frontline): Policy Making, Programme Management/Implementation, Law Making/ Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment.
  • Neutral: Linguistic services, Local Finance, Anti-Fraud.
  • Administrative Support: Human Resources, IT, Document Management, Logistics, Security, Budget and Accounting, Internal Audit.
  • Coordination: Communication, Publication, Inter-Institutional Relations, Activity based management.

Horizontal support tasks, as described in the categories ‘Administrative Support’ and ‘Coordination’ above, are delivered in the EC at corporate level (e.g. HR services for the whole Commission by the central DG HR) as well as at local level (e.g. HR departments in each Directorate-General (DG)). The categorisation of all jobs enables all decision levels to clearly identify the jobs allocated to ‘frontline’ (operational) activities and the ones covering ‘administrative support and coordination’ functions. Progress in the reduction of the ratio of these support and coordination jobs compared with the total number of jobs is measured monthly at the level of each DG as well as for the Commission as a whole.The initiative has helped reduce the ratio of functions in administrative support and coordination in the whole EC from 31.8% in 2007 to 29.5% in 2010. A further decrease is expected in 2011. This constant shift from functions in administrative support and coordination to ‘frontline’ tasks has helped in reaching the Commission’s policy objectives in times of ‘zero growth’, where no additional posts have been requested from the budgetary authority. In addition, the EC managed – without additional heavy IT investments – to overcome a common hurdle: the centralisation of all relevant existing information on human resources in one database, which establishes one global and up-to-date view on the use of resources across the highly diverse and multi-site organisation of the Commission. This has also led to establishment of one common ‘language’ between all DGs with regard to staff deployment in general. The yearly Job Screening exercise has strongly pushed towards an alignment of the planning processes for activities, the budget and human resources. Last but not least, the ratio of functions in administrative support and coordination has been established successfully as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and is used in decision making for allocation of additional posts.

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: Efficient allocation of human resources, efficiency gains, efficient delivery model, re-engineering, cost optimisation, business orientation, added value for European citizens
Short English description: The yearly Job Screening exercise has strongly pushed towards an alignment of the planning processes for

activities, the budget and human resources

Further information
Organisation: European Commission DG Human Resources
Other applicants:
Level of government: EU institutions
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: 1-5
Country: Belgium
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

European commission job screening (50.8410551, 4.370785)
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