There was a communique from President Campinos last Thursday. From the look of it, it seems that a massive reorganisation is planned for September. What Märpel finds particularly bizarre is that the communique says, at the same time, that "staff will be informed well in advance of the new structure" but also that the structure becomes operational in January 2020. Märpel thinks that President Campinos must have some kind of time-distorting machine that will make the 4 months left till 2020 into a much longer period. Märpel also thinks that President Campinos will need that time-distorting machine to extract even more productivity, since that is apparently also planned. The amount of files produced will also be checked quarterly instead of at the end of each year…
Below is the text of the communique:
Update on main topics
Last week, myself and the other members of the MAC held a meeting dedicated to examining the preparation of the budget and to a number of other issues currently on the agenda. Although I had said the previous MAC communication could be the last before September, you may find it useful to be updated on some of the matters discussed.
I do not know if many of you are familiar with the procedure for the preparation of the budget at the EPO so I think it could be interesting to give you a very brief overview without going into too much of the technical jargon.
The cycle starts in March each year with a notice sent by the President to all DGs indicating the timeline of the budget preparation and some indications on the assumptions. This helps PD Finance to build the first main budgetary orientations which are presented for opinion to the May Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) and June Admin Council (CA/25/xx).
At the end of July, a dedicated MAC gathers to review and refine the assumptions. The CA/50/xx document on the draft budget needs to be finalised in September to be ready on time for the publication on Micado around the end of September or beginning of October. It is then presented for opinion to the October BFC and for decision to the December AC.
For the 2020 budget, PD Finance provided an overview of the EPO's financial situation for the first semester 2019 which you can find here [internal link].
Moreover, linked to the discussions on the staffing level and posts requests for each DGs, we addressed the need to better align our structures of the Office with the goals of the strategic plan to ensure they will be in a position to implement and deliver it in an optimal manner.
I want to take this opportunity to underline that this will be a series of gradual changes, of which staff will be informed well in advance of the new structure becoming operational in January 2020. It will be based on the principles of streamlining some functions that are currently spread over different DGs, causing a loss of efficiency. Bringing together those resources on a permanent basis therefore makes sense. In some cases, all staff will already have a good idea of the changes set to take place as outlined in the Strategic Plan: a Project Management Office embedded in a Corporate Governance Service will be established; a concept will be developed for an EPO Observatory; internal and external communications will be brought together; the Council Secretariat should be relocated in DG5 and the status of the Academy should evolve. So it is not at all a big bang but more a case of some readjustments.
Finally, sharing the very constructive feedback I received during the recent Discovery sessions with Team Managers and Directors, we had an initial discussion on how the appraisal process might be improved to better reflect the efforts of our team, as a whole, in addition to evaluating individual performance. As you know, I believe strongly in a more collaborative style of working, where we can benefit from each other's expertise and input, share our knowledge and increase staff engagement.
Overall, I'm of the opinion that more cohesive teams help to raise the quality of our work - as we saw in the recent CQI pilot - and are also more productive. We therefore held a first exchange on how both the appraisal system and the point allocation system could be adjusted to better reflect the outcome of a team's collaborative efforts. I also think that since the adoption of the New Career System in 2015, we have now the experience to evolve from the yearly formal appraisal report to more regular feedbacks - on a quarterly basis for example - which will give greater support to staff throughout the year. Later this year we will therefore undertake a thorough assessment on how - and if - this could be done with a view to proposing amendments.
I look forward to updating you on these matters in due course. As many of you are heading off to the summer break I wish you some good rest with your family and loved ones. I am very grateful for all the hard work that's been done and I hope you will feel that it has been suitably recognised, not least by the allocation of a collective bonus as a token of recognition for all your efforts.