Professional development of civil servants has a number of features, in particular, being a dynamic and continuous process promoting personal development in the system of interrelated professionally significant types of activity. The performance of public administration is measured mainly against professional competency of civil servants. A low level of expertise and professional skills of employees will entail low-quality managerial decisions that may adversely affect the quality of management in the country, industry, region, municipality. In modern rapidly changing scenarios, effective public administration primarily calls for flexible, highly skilled professionals including civil servants. The personnel in the civil sector is hired based on professional merit, business qualities, professional skills, and acquired competencies. Promoting professional competency of civil servants requires further professional education. The quality and efficiency of managerial decision-making depends on the quality of further education received by employees. Since the early 2000s, there have been a series of activities to reform and improve the state civil service in the Russian Federation. The federal program provides for effective personnel technologies integrated in the civil service and modern methods of personnel work, which should be aimed at improving professional competences of civil servants. In this regard, studying professional development of civil servants is currently acquiring particular relevance.
Over the last decade, a series of papers has been published by Russian authors largely due to the desire to analyze the changes taking place in public administration and identify the impacts shaping the vector of transformation set by the programs for reforming and developing the civil service (Zinich, 2020).
Development of the civil service has always been a focus of academic discussions in Russia and abroad (Stukach et al., 2017; Kosenchuk et al., 2019). Improving the system of professional development of civil servants is of great importance to ensure successful functioning of public authorities and public satisfaction with the quality of service.
Updating approaches to the organization of professional development for civil servants is related to Decree of the President of the Russian Federation N 288 On the Main Directions of State Civil Service Development in the Russian Federation for 2019 – 2021 of June 24, 2019. As part of the measures, Articles 62 and 63 of Federal Law No. 79-FZ On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation of July 27, 2004 were seriously amended (Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 288).
The new laws were (Article 62 Federal Law No. 79) (Topilskaya & Trifonov, 2018):
– defining the concept of professional development and expanding its content to include activities towards professional development (including professional development programs);
– providing a legislative framework for systematic professional development of civil servants;
– establishing an additional incentive for running professional development programs (PDP) – an educational certificate.
Thus, by complementing professional development, along with PDP, with other professional development activities, as well as expanding the grounds for referring a civil servant to professional development activities, conditions were created for a more rapid response to the needs of state bodies in training civil servants. In addition, a new tailor-made organizational and financial instrument was proposed to satisfy individual requests for field-specific PDP.
The areas of financing and planning of professional development of civil servants were also updated (Topilskaya & Trifonov, 2018):
– a number of alternatives has been proposed for financing professional development activities like state assignment, state order, funds of a state body;
– the procedure for organizing a state order has been changed. A state body used to be responsible, and it was required to obtain approval from the relevant civil service department. Now appropriate civil service department is responsible.
Decree No. 68 of the President of the Russian Federation On Professional Development of Civil Servants of the Russian Federation of February 21, 2019 and Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of May 18, 2019 led to a subsequent improvement of the system of professional development of civil servants, which involves a number of changes (Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 68):
the term of professional development was clarified, which consists in acquiring new knowledge and skills by civil servants and developing their professional and personal qualities on a systematic basis;
– “other” activities for professional development were distinguished, subject to the reason for civil servants to participate in it. For fast acquisition of new competencies civil servants are offered to attend seminars, trainings, master classes, and other events. Conferences, round tables, internships and other events are envisaged to gain and exchange best practices. Self-education was supported within the areas of professional activity through the use of a single specialized information resource;
– an algorithm was defined for planning centralized training of federal civil servants within the main areas of professional development, as well as implementing the state order for professional development activities and training federal civil servants on the basis of educational certificates.
So, having analyzed some legal provisions regulating the system of professional development of civil servants, it is possible to articulate the basic principles constituting a new model of professional development.
However, despite the ongoing changes in legislation and methodological support for training personnel of the state civil service in the Russian Federation by types of further education and levels of management in 2019 and 2020, the number of those trained decreased (Table 1).
This decrease was due to the prevailing situation both in Russia and worldwide, when, in the face of the pandemic, a significant number of training activities for further professional education of civil servants had to be abandoned to avoid the spread of morbidity. It seems that a number of legislative and methodological changes in this direction will foster professional development of employees in the future. In 2020, the Russian authorities allocated 104 million rubles to provide training for more than 14.8 thousand Russian civil servants.
Purpose of the Study
The paper aims to improve the system of professional development of civil servants.
The effectiveness of the public administration system depends on the level of professional performance of civil servants and the quality of government decisions taken. Today, with the advent of digital technology public administration institutions are being transformed globally. Digital technology largely contributes to economic growth and plays a decisive role in increasing the competitiveness of the state.
The ongoing technological changes have an impact on the requirements for the level of qualification to be attained by state employees. The advent of digital technology expands an array of tools to be used by civil servants, which requires updating their competences. Hence, there is a need to revise the qualification requirements for applicants for civil service positions by expanding the list of competences. The development of digital technology and growing information flows facilitate the reformatting of the world economy. The large-scale penetration of technologies into all spheres of activity entails the automation of processes, the transformation of management models and, as a result, the complication of professional image of public managers.
Thus, “the ideal civil servant is an employee who has both legal and economic knowledge, knowledge of state (municipal) management, besides being good at information and communication technology”.
From February to December 2019, the Graduate School of Public Management RANEPA, trained 13,490 officials from 85 Russian regions at the Chief Digital Transformation Officer center. Among them were deputy federal ministers, vice-governors and deputy heads of federal services, state and municipal employees, heads and members of project offices for digital development. The Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDTO) center was established in February 2019 at the Graduate School of Public Management RANEPA under the auspices of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications and the Ministry of Economic Development. The center implements programs for state and municipal employees responsible for digital development. Besides training, the Center is also engaged in analytical studies by conducting research and developing methodological and informational materials on digital transformation of public administration, digital platforms and their ecosystems, change management, design thinking, implementation of projects in the field of digital transformation, ethics of decision-making.
The educational program, developed with the support of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, the Ministry of Economic Development and the largest Russian companies, aims to enable officials not only to gain new knowledge and skills, but also to form a vibrant community of managers who will lead digital transformation processes in Russia in the coming years.
Educational programs are made up of different blocks, including courses on dealing with data, information security, data visualization, creating project teams, developing projects and documents, digital transformation of public administration. A separate online program introduces basic digital technologies and concepts of the digital economy and presents skills and competencies that will be in demand in the near future. The full-time modules composing various programs pay much attention to the development of communication and leadership skills, systemic and critical thinking. Upon completion, the students enrolled in the programs defended digital projects that are already developing or preparing for implementation in the region or at the federal level.
In 2019, in line with the development of the educational program for Russian officials, the Center released the reports The State as a Platform: People and Technologies and Agile Approach in Public Administration: Navigator of Digital Transformation. Analytics is based on materials from educational programs and is devoted to the implementation of data-based management principles and the reconstruction of public administration at large.
It is planned that in 2021 12,620 people will be trained in the programs delivered by the Chief Digital Transformation Officer center of the Graduate School of Public Management RANEPA, of which 9,465 (75%) will be from the regions (Table 2).
Each learner will be able to study in only one educational program implemented under the federal project on Human Resources for the Digital Economy of the national program Digital Economy of the Russian Federation. The educational programs delivered by the Center in 2021 include Head of Digital Transformation, Implementation of Digital Transformation Projects, Digital Transformation and the Digital Economy: Technologies and Competencies, Fundamentals of Digital Transformation in State and Municipal Administration.
Evaluating the possibilities provided by professional development of civil servants today, there is a positive trend both at the legislative level and in practice. Being one-of-a-kind, state functions require a wide variety of techniques and methods of professional development. In this regard, activities towards professional development of civil servants should be sensitive to the functions being performed and the position being replaced. They should also respond to the need to obtain subject knowledge and skills in a particular field of activity and the development of professional and personal qualities through the most effective methods.
Acknowledgments [if any]
Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 288. (2019). On the Main Directions of State Civil Service Development in the Russian Federation for 2019 – 2021 of June 24, 2019.
Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 68. (2019). On Professional Development of State Civil Servants of the Russian Federation of February 21, 2019.
Federal Law No. 79-FZ. (2004). On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation (with amendments and additions) of July 27, 2004.
Kosenchuk, O., Shumakova, O., Zinich, A., Shelkovnikov, S., & Poltarykhin, A. (2019). The development of agriculture in agricultural areas of Siberia: Multifunctional character, environmental aspects. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, 10(5), 991-1001.
Stukach, V. F., Astashova, E. A., Zinich, L. V., Zinich, A. V., Kuznetsova, N. A., Tetereva, A. M., Nardina, S. A., & Volkova, I. A. (2017). The balance of labor resources of rural areas of the region: monitoring, forecasting, development of human capital. Omsk State Agrarian University named after P.A. Stolypin.
Topilskaya, A., & Trifonov, Yu. (2018). System of professional development of state civil servants: novelties of legislation and further prospects. Modern society and power, 2(16), 128-134.
Zinich, L. (2020). Personnel potential: problems and prospects. Actual issues of modern economy, 11, 177-182.
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31 March 2022
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Zinich, L. V., Kuznetsova, N. A., & Kondratieva, O. V. (2022). Featuring Professional Development Of Civil Servants. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1073-1080). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.03.128