Sabine Kuhlmann and Manfred Röber Civil Service in Germany: Between Cutback Management and Modernization

1. Introduction
Public Sector Modernisation has become one of the important issues on the political agenda in many of the developed industrialised countries. Traditional bureaucratic structures and procedures at all levels of public administration have been made responsible - inter alia - as obstacles for further economic development in the context of increasing international competition. According to management reforms in private companies - a New Public Management has been emerging that claimed to initiate a far-reaching and sustainable paradigmatic shift in public sector development. Modernising the civil service and changing the traditional system towards an integrated Personnel Management has been regarded as crucial in order to meet increasing challenges of rising societal complexities and dynamics. Although there is no general consensus about the blueprint for a “modern” Public Personnel Management it seems to be possible to identify at least some core elements or indicators for the degree of modernity as far as the civil service is concerned. This includes for example a lean state (as a result of downsizing strategies), a decentralised system with more responsibilities for regional and/or local authorities, and an integrated human resources management which includes a system of education and training that will be able to meet present and future requirements of political, economic and social developments. There are reasons to assume that these elements are causally related to each other because further downsizing requires a better and more (decentralised) flexible personnel management in order to mobilize hidden human resources. In this context one of the crucial questions will be in which way a more New Public Management oriented civil service modernisation can be successfully integrated in a system that is still dominated by an administrative culture - based on the principles of the Rechtsstaat with its strong emphasis on legality and that has to work under so far unknown dramatic financial constraints. Against this background we want to present the development of some of the characteristic features and quantitative personnel developments in Germany’s civil service and to discuss to what extent the German system has been successfully adapted to those requirements that seem to be essential for a modern civil service.


2. Legal Framework and Structure of the Civil Service in Germany 2.1 Historical Background and Dual Employment Structure
Due to the prevailing constitutional principles of federalism and local self-government, German public administration is considerably varied and complex (the following paragraphs refer to Röber/Löffler 2000). This framework has given rise to a whole variety of subnational peculiarities which diverge more or less in their administrative cultures. Nevertheless, the core elements of the German civil service are relatively uniform for the public servants at all levels of government, with the term “public servant” being used as a generic term to include civil servants (Beamte) as well as public employees (Angestellte) and public workers (Arbeiter). The reason is that according to the German Constitution the Federation has the right to determine the legal status of all public servants and to make decisions relating to pay and pensions for civil servants. This means that unlike other federal states, Germany has - despite present discussions about a reform of the federal system one single civil service without inter-governmental flexibility which is justified with the need to avoid “destructive competition” between vertical administrative levels as well as between states (Länder) or local authorities. The essential feature of the German civil service in its present form goes back to the end of the eighteenth century in the Prussian General Code of 1794. The prevailing philosophy was confirmed in the “Civil Service of the Reich” (Reichsbeamtengesetz) enacted in 1873 (cf. Siedentopf 1990: 236; Wunder 1986) and was enshrined after the Second World War in the German constitution especially by “reserving to civil servants the right to act on behalf of the state” (article 33, paragraph 4, Basic Law) and by emphasising the traditional principles of the professional civil service (article 33, paragraph 5, Basic Law) (Siedentopf 1990: 237). Although there is no clearly defined enumeration of elements which constitute the traditional principles of the professional civil service, some features are widely seen as characteristic such as lifetime occupation, an appropriate salary according to the maintenance principle (Alimentationsprinzip), loyalty, political neutrality and moderation, dedication to public service, no right to strike and subjection to special disciplinary regulations. The traditional principles of the professional civil service only apply to civil servants (Beamte) and are not aimed at regulating the legal status of public employees (Angestellte) and public workers (Arbeiter). While the legal status of civil servants is based on public law with strict duties and sanctions, specific pay, health-care- and pension-systems, specific pre-entry-training and a cadre system with a career pathway, public employees and workers are subject to private sector law and public sector industrial relations. The dual employment structure of the public service is part of Germany’s historical traditions. Due to these traditions, posts for civil servants have been established for law and order functions and must be reserved for them - according to article 33, paragraph 4, Basic Law. Even though the dual employment structure made sense in the last century, it has become less appropriate and relevant, since the boundaries between the two categories of service law have become increasingly blurred in practice. 90

000s Share in % In 1.5 5.3).3 1.7 36. In general.9 23.294. Intermunicipal Associations and the Indirect Public Service (mittelbarer Öffentlicher Dienst.156. Table 1: Employment in the German Public Sector by “Status Groups” (2002) Legal Status In 1.1 Civil **315.735.7 490. public employees and public workers at the three tiers of the federal system (cf. see fn.1 346.3 * Federal Railways’ Properties.000s 64.Civil servants account for roughly 40% of the total workforce in Germany’s public sector.5 124.9 100.000s Share in % Civil Servants/Judges/Soldiers 1. This proportion has been fairly stable for more than 15 years (with a slight downward tendency).0 Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2003 Having a look at the proportion of civil servants. ** Including soldiers: 185.867.8 925. The high percentage of civil servants at state level (Länder) is also linked to the type of predominant functions because all police as well as (nearly) all education functions are fulfilled by civil servants and both functions fall within the competence of the German Länder.3 Public Workers 626. the data displayed in table 1 can be regarded as an indicator for the diversified structure of public duties as well as for the diminishing relevance of law-and-order-functions and the growing importance of service delivery functions which are mainly fulfilled by public employees (whose share of the total workforce in the public sector has continuously been rising (from 40% in 1989 to 48% in 2002). Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2003.2.244.1 15.6 569.1 63.323.0 13. 5) are not included.0 Total 4.1 48.4 76.000s Share in % In 1.1 4.6 57.447.0 38.860.6 100. Table 2: Legal Status Distribution of Public Service Personnel Across Levels of Government Related to “Status Groups” (2002)* Federation States Local Authorities Total In 1.8 100.3 20.4 787.4 1.7 2.2 Servants/Judges Public Employees Public Workers Total 98.809.2 12.7 Public Employees 2.0 175.0 1.000s Share in % In 1. This is primarily due to the fact that local authorities provide many of the service delivery functions that are directly related to contacts with citizens (see section 3. At the same time the proportion of public workers has fallen considerably (to 13%).1 100. table 2) we can observe that the proportion of public employees is greatest at the local level (Gemeinden). 91 .0 1.

Similar rules. each with a rising pay scale within the “Salary Regulation A” (White/Löffler 1998: 11.compared to 58% at the state level and 64% at the federal level.Given these figures the question can be raised whether the flexibility of the system is higher in those institutions where a significant part of public servants belong to the group of public employees compared to those institutions in which civil servants dominate and whether for that reason the traditional legal status of civil servants can be regarded as one of the most important obstacles for modernizing the public sector (see section 4). The fact that the reform process in Germany has started at the local level must be put down to other causes (such as financial problems. where only 12% of all staff members are civil servants . But in practice. i. the clerical class (mittlerer Dienst) and the sub-clerical-class (einfacher Dienst). This might confirm the assumption that the legal status “public employees” favours the consciousness of and the readiness for new management models. top positions in the civil service .e.which are related to the leading grades in the administrative class . Röber 1996: 173). apply for public employees. This career system for civil servants consists of four standard career levels which are the administrative class (höherer Dienst).are remunerated according to a special “Salary Regulation B” which does not contain any increments for seniority. the German public service law for civil servants provides even more opportunities for a flexible modernization of public administration than the strict regulations do in collective agreements for public employees negotiated between public employers’ association and trade unions. Each career class consists of five grades.2 Career Structure One of the most conspicuous features of Germany’s civil service is the rather rigid system of career classes hampering vertical mobility across career class border lines. Therefore one must be very careful in assuming that a high percentage of public employees would improve the prospects for a management-oriented modernisation. In keeping with the basic principles of a merit-based career system. the executive class (gehobener Dienst). In contrast to the salary system of “Regulation A”. increasingly competitive environment. The main characteristic of the “Salary Regulation A” is increments on the basis of a seniority allowance. 2. Table 3 provides a rough overview of the size of each career class indicating that the backbone of the German civil service is still the executive and the clerical class while the size and share of the sub-clerical class has continually 92 . which again indicates that despite the continued dual employment structure. however. the two categories of service law have in practice been coming closer to each other. At first glance such conjecture seems to make sense. And additionally. income is irrespective of the officer’s age or length of service. entrance for civil servants to the civil service classes is strictly linked to certain formal qualification requirements (for details see below. lack of effectiveness and responsiveness). because the main impetus for a new public management in Germany has come from the local level.3). public employees share nearly all of the rights and benefits (and all corresponding attitudes) civil servants already have. section 2.

This can be interpreted with the observation that more and more posts in Germany’s civil service require higher professional standards with far-reaching consequences for education and training. In contrast to the still centralized French system of civil service training offered by the École Nationale d’Administation (ENA).0 4.6 2. Whereas on the one hand .g. a local institute of public administration (Verwaltungsschule or kommunales Studieninstitut). basic and permanent training are to a large degree decentralized in the German federal system. Table 3: Distribution of Public Service Personnel Across Career Classes (2002)* In 1. also with regard to their civil servants.1 Share in % 14. Training and Qualification German civil servants’ professional profile is largely shaped by the existing system of education and recruitment which combines professional training and career structure.3 30. on the other. It is true that the universities of Potsdam and Konstanz and the “German School for 93 . Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2003.2 699.6 38.000s 689. 2. To hold a position in the “clerical class” vocational training is required which is part of the general “dual system” integrating an administrative apprenticeship on the one hand and theoretical training at a vocational school for public administration.decreased (the proportion was 48% in 1989 and was much higher previously).3 Education.the legal framework and the career system of the German civil service is rather uniform both on different levels and in different Länder.after having passed the Abitur-examination which qualifies for courses in higher education .0 14.5 100.854. There are no central elite schools for the education and training of the German civil service.809. in Germany the Länder are responsible for education and training.a degree at a college for public administration.7 1.6 1. But there is no special education or training for the administrative class.0 Career Class Administrative Class Executive Class Clerical Class Sub-Clerical Class Others ** Total * Only full-time employees. To enter the “administrative class” a university degree is required which usually has to be completed by two years of preparatory service (Referendariat) with practical stages in different public and private institutions and some courses on administrative topics.according to federal “skeleton legislation” . ** Public Employees without specification of career class and Public Workers.6 96. A condition for entering the “executive class” is . e.469.

According to the “legalistic” administrative culture which has been generated by the prevalence of legal rule-application in this country’s administrative business (Siedentopf et al. the personnel structure in public administration is very strongly moulded by a dominance of lawyers (Juristenmonopol). succeeded by barely 15% of economists (Derlien 2002). Administrative Sciences can be studied at the Universities of Konstanz and Potsdam. This also applies to the training of the “executive class” in as much as each state (Land) and the Federation have their own colleges of public administration. the majority of leading civil servants (78%) pass 1 The “German School for Administrative Sciences” in Speyer which is financed by the Federal and all Länder governments offers a post-graduate programme for students preparing for a position in the public sector. 94 . have the status of central institutions for the training of an administrative elite. comparable to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in Great Britain or the ENA in France (Benz/Bogumil 2006). e. each state. they organize their own training programmes lasting between 14 and 15 months. They do not. and each local authority has the right to recruit its staff members itself. Moreover. Not surprisingly. however. there is no central unit responsible for recruiting civil servants or public employees. In addition to the training for leading civil servants offered by the Federal Academy of Public Administration (Bundesakademie für öffentliche Verwaltung). Clerical class Basic Education Sub-clerical class Adapted from Reichard 1998: 514. Thus. in Bavaria since 1968 or in Baden-Württemberg since 1986. amounting to 63%. Administrative Sciences” in Speyer1 offer courses in administrative sciences. the proportion of lawyers in Federal ministries. has remained virtually unchanged for more than 30 years. Finally.Figure 1: Accessing the Public Service in Germany Preparatory service Administrative class Executive class University College for public administrtion Vocational School for Public adm. 1993).g. the highly decentralised structure of the German federal system is also reflected by the “Länder’s” efforts at forming their own administrative elite. Each ministry at the federal level.

whereas only one head of department was a lawyer (Kuhlmann 2003: 258). usually had technical. 2 3 These figures refer to the Federal administrative elite between 1949 and 1984 (Derlien 1990). public employees. the relevant percentage in the Federal Ministry of Economics amounts to only 40% (Hauschild 1998: 581). we must. 12 architects).through the career system of the public service (Laufbahn). however. Due to the fact that a special administrative education for public employees had. however. among them 10% come from private enterprises (Derlien 1990. By comparison. Yet. Unfortunately.even with regard to the leading civil servants3 . Responding to this “qualification gap”. the vast majority of the East German staff were newcomers to state and local administrations (Wollmann 1996).g. such as the office of law (Rechtsamt) or the building supervisory board (Bauaufsicht). mainly attributed to the East German actors’ amazing capacity of “learning on the job”. at an Academy of Public Administration and Economics (Verwaltungs. Bogumil/Jann 2005)2. the new administrative leaders in East German local authorities stand in marked contrast to their West German counterparts. the transformed administration in East Germany was largely lacking in law-trained and public service-experienced personnel. the proportion of technically trained personnel . Contrary to the “old” German Länder. They primarily work in law-oriented departments. Whereas in the Federal Ministry of the Interior about 70% of the staff are lawyers. According to a survey of 32 local building supervisory boards (at county-level) the vast majority of heads of offices (Amtsleiter) held technical or urban planning-related degrees (e. who had been taken over from “old” GDR-authorities. the majority of whom are trained in law or hold public administration-related degrees (Cusack/Wessels 1996). make a distinction between different policy fields on the one hand and levels of government on the other. Regarding the professional background of civil servants. Likewise. e.und Wirtschaftsakademie) or through preparatory service (Referendariat). whereas only a small number (22%) enters higher ranks in the administration from outside. been rejected in the former GDR (Kuhlmann 1997). 95 . economic or other “non-administrative” degrees. staff members holding a degree in law are clearly in a minority. immediately after reunification extensive programmes of training and further qualification were launched in order to familiarise East German administrative actors with some basic structures of German law and administrative affairs.predominates. 15 building engineers. Looking at the local authorities. The remarkable adaptation to “Western” professional standards and law application practice is. Hence. These staff members have usually received a basic education at university or college. more recent data is not available for Germany (Bogumil/Jann 2005). predominant among these were holders of degrees in technical subjects and natural sciences.g. for ideological reasons. complemented by further training in administrative subjects.

Finally. see table 4). we will.3. Table 4: Year 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 Total Public Employment in the “Old” Federal Republic of Germany 1950-1990 (in Mill.88 4. namely Federation. The proportion of the “Direct Public Service” is about 90% of the entire Public Service in Germany.000 Inhabitants 45. structure and development of public personnel impressively reflect the importance of different levels of government within the German federal system as well as the functional change they have experienced over time. that is the territorial authorities (Gebietskörperschaften. in the following section. we will place the German public service staff in the international context by comparing their size to other OECD-countries.28 3. first.15 3.92 Per 1.7 77. Structure and Development of Public Personnel in Germany: A “Lean” and Decentralised Public Sector? In this part of the article we will turn to the question of whether the German Civil Service has been “modernized” in terms of downsizing (measured by indicators for “personnel density”) and/or decentralisation (measured for example by the ratio of central government employment and total public sector employment).)4 Total Number of Public Servants 2. analyse the period after reunification (1990-2000). In order to reveal these developmental patterns. 3.9 63. as well as the “Indirect Public Service” (mittelbarer öffentlicher Dienst). Size.66 4.7 56. that is Social Security and Labour Administration. We will than give a brief overview of the tasks which the public employees in Germany discharge at different levels of government. Communes). and. the number of public servants per 1. Länder. Accordingly.9 75.000 inhabitants (“personnel density”) also rose significantly (from 46 in 1950 to 78 in 1990. 4 Tables include the “Direct Public Service” (unmittelbarer öffentlicher Dienst).8 Source: Bogumil/Jann 2005 with further references. secondly. highlight the changes which occurred in the “old” Federal Republic between 1950 and 1990. Size. 96 .1 Development in the “Old” Federal Republic (1950-1990) The total number of public servants more than doubled between 1950 and 1990 mounting from 2 million public servants in 1950 to nearly 5 million in 1990. Federal Railways’ Properties and Intermunicipal Associations.

002 32. the proportion of personnel shares at federal.after the Basic Law came into force on 5th of May 1949 .4 3. see fn. Federal Railways’ Properties. the steep rise in the number of Federal public servants essentially corresponds to the rearming (in 1955).4 1. state and local level took on a shape which remained fairly stable up to the 1990s: the communes got a personnel share of about one third of total public employment. 5) are not included.3 1990 in %*** * only full-time employees of the territorial authorities (Gebietskörperschaften). in 1950.9 1.092 Increase 196053. Table 5: Public Personnel in the “Old” Federal Republic 1950-1990 in 1. including the Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and military administration (Sturm 1961: 11.5 950 48.).3 2.1 58.5 61.7 56.504 1980 553 18. the states (Länder) roughly 50% and the Federation one fifth.000s In 1.5 920 30. then the Länder.000s In 1.The local level embracing.7 1.210 48. *** We calculate the increase in public personnel only from 1960 onwards in order to exclude the rearming at Federal level which took place in the late 1950s.000s % % % 1950** 62 4.000s (Rounded Figures) and Personnel Shares of Levels of Government in %* Federation Communes All levels Länder Year Share in Share in Share in In 1.536 49.2 1. and finally . 102 ff. In the course of the 1950s.9 1. Besides the extension of the ministerial administration and the upper-level administration of the Federal Railways (Bundesbahn) and the Federal Postal Administration (Bundespost). against a proportion of barely 5% at Federal level. the increase in public employment at the Länder-level of 61% between 1960 and 1990 was obviously the highest. 97 .328 1960 361 18.568 51. roughly two fifths and the state level (Länder) half of the total public employment of the territorial authorities (Gebietskörperschaften).4 543 40.042 1990 554 17. ** 1950: without Saarland. Comparing the three levels of government.953 1970 537 21.7 722 54.6 642 32. suspiciously reflect the starting conditions of the German public sector after the Second World War: first new democratic and administrative structures had been installed at local level.the Federal Republic were founded.2 3.000s In 1. Source: Kuhlmann/ Wollmann 1998: 498 (with further references).3 758 30. Intermunicipal Associations and the Indirect Public Service (“mittelbarer Öffentlicher Dienst”. The communes and their public personnel played a particularly important role in reconstructing the destroyed country and in coping with the immense social problems which had occurred after the war (Kuhlmann/Wollmann 1998).9 1.

the municipalities and counties were on the one hand assigned an increasing number of local infrastructure tasks to (urban development and planning. however. we can observe. Summarizing these findings we can say on the one hand that the Federal republic of Germany has traditionally been characterized by a highly decentralized civil service. regional or local offices (and personnel) of its own. Hence. Accordingly. This is primarily due to the constitutional foundations of the German federal system according to which the Federation is predominantly responsible for legislation. Regarding different levels of government. public transport. falling to the “cultural sovereignty” of the Länder.until 1990 . as a rule. by 56% between 1960 and 1990. whereas the Länder (and communes) are responsible for the implementation and execution of these programmes (Schröter/Wollmann 1997: 185) and accordingly employ the major part of public personnel in Germany.2 Development after Reunification (1990-2000) After German reunification a further 1. the number of local-level public servants rose considerably.000 inhabitants. increasingly confronted with local social and labour market policies. All in all. While continuing their reconstruction activities after the war. counted separately. house building. that is 84 public servants per 1. regulation and programming. see table 4). On the other hand they were.virtually no Public Sector modernization in terms of downsizing and cutting back public personnel. that the Federal share of public employment has clearly fallen below the level of the 1990s (to 15% in 2002 against 18% in 1990) which is on the one hand due to the privatisation of Federal Postal Administration5 during the Kohl-era and to the 5 Privatisation during the Kohl-era also included Federal Railways the employees of which are. in 1991 there were 6. due to the employment crises in the mid-1970s. the German Public Sector has in recent years been significantly downsized which can be seen from the number of public employees per 1. 98 .7 million people working in the civil service. the size of the West German public sector continuously rose until 1990 without any serious efforts to curb public sector growth (in terms of personnel). In this respect Germany has always been in a completely different situation compared to other more centralistic European states which regard their efforts towards decentralisation as an important element of their approach to modernising the public sector. there was . Moreover. which reflects the extension of public tasks as well as the functional change which the local authorities were faced with during this period. environment protection).This primarily corresponds to the reforms in the education sector.8 million public servants from East German public institutions joined the civil service. 3. contrary to the United Kingdom for example. On the other hand we can say that.000 inhabitants declining from 80 in 1990 to 60 in 2000 (Bogumil/Jann 2005. and thus lacks. as a result of which the number of teaching staff was remarkably extended.

transferred to the East German Länder.012 49. East German authorities. In East German communes. according to art.4 1. 99 .308 448 15.000 employees6. The share of the Länder has.233 33.469 36. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2003. in the “core administration” (Kernverwaltung) of the counties and the countyfree municipalities.000s Share % % % 579 14. in 1991.982 -22.0 1.Table 6: Year 1993 1996 1999 2002 Change 19932002 in % Public Personnel in Germany after Reunification 1993-2002 in 1. by contrast.583 53. public employment soared dramatically after reunification. As a result. Due to the unprecedented transformation process in East Germany. In addition.000s In 1.000 inhabitants. about 600 employees worked in “subordinated” (nachgeordneten) social. see Berg et al.1 million employees) was.3 1. according to pertinent legal provisions.000s Share in In 1.6 * only full-time employees of the territorial authorities (Gebietskörperschaften).000 (Rounded Figures) and Personnel Shares of Levels of Government in %* Federation Communes All levels Länder in In 1. prompted public authorities to reduce public spending and to cutback public employment.6 1.062 32. In the early 1990s. public employment was still rising (slightly).9 2.1 951 31.3 -35.8 3. faced with the problem. that on the one hand a considerable part of the suspiciously overstaffed apparatus of the former GDR-state (of about 2. in some big cities to 5. the relevant figure in West Germany (30) by roughly one third (see table 7). amounting.000s Share in In 1. 13 of the unification treaty. facilities. The growing budgetary crises. in West Germany. This primarily corresponds to the fact that the social and cultural facilities of the former 6 In the former GDR.2 4. 1996.1 3. were. too.5 1. slightly increased (from 50% in 1990 to 53% in 2002) and that of the communes has remained more or less stable at 32% (see table 5 and table 6). see fn. exceeded. by contrast.000 or even 10. the public staff’s situation and development in the two parts of Germany in the last decade differed remarkably.649 479 14. the local personnel staffs (in the so called Räte) had been comparatively small. amounting to 39 public servants per 1. to between 250 and 350 employees. Federal Railway Properties. the public employers had practically no hand in dismissing surplus staff and were primarily bound to renounce filling job vacancies. 5) are not included.3 2. reduction of the Federal Armed Forces on the other.060 508 13.2 -26.909 52. Yet. cultural etc. however. Intermunicipal Associations and the Indirect Public Service (mittelbarer Öffentlicher Dienst.7 -21. the “personnel density” at Länder-level.9 1.767 53.

were.9 1.4 -25. there are now 32 public servants per 1.6 1. 4) was reduced by 27% between 1991 and 2000. 100 . has accordingly fallen to the level of the 1970s (see table 1. East German municipalities had significantly more public personnel than comparable West German communes.6:1 (public personnel) and 1. At the Länder level. (re)transferred to the communes (“recommunalised”). East German public employers took a particularly hard line of cutback management as a result of which the staff of the Länder was reduced by one fourth (see table 7) and that of the communes more than halved between 1991 and 2001 (see table 8).5 2. which had been managed by state institutions or national owned enterprises. by contrast. undoubtedly converged to “typical” West German proportions and structures.000 Number in Per 1.000s Inh. now. *** Calculation based on population numbers of 2002. the “personnel density” at local level in East Germany.000 inhabitants.4 1.572 32. however.938 30.4:1 (population). 634 39. both West and East German public authorities were increasingly faced with budgetary problems and the need to cut back public spending and personnel. whereas at the local level the proportion is 21:17 (see tables 7 and 8).704 ***25. still higher than that in West Germany.000s Inh. GDR.000 inhabitants in 2000. public employment in East Germany has. 7 The “personnel density” in East Germany is.000 inhabitants in East Germany against 25 in West Germany.Table 7: Year/ Change 1991 1994 2001 Change 19912001 in % Public Employment of the German Länder 1991-2001 East Germany* West Germany* Germany* Number in Per 1. In the subsequent period.3 * Public Employees and Population of the City-State of Berlin (194.2 2. in 1991.000 Number in Per 1. This remarkable decline primarily corresponds to the fact. amounting to 60 public servants per 1. Bogumil/Jann 2005).000 in 2001) have been assigned to both West and East Germany according to the proportion of 1. Their enormous efforts at cutback management can be seen from the fact that total public employment in Germany (including the territorial authorities of Federation. Länder and communes. As a result.2 2.0 -15. which amounted to 42 public servants per 1.4 475 ***31. 1. **Note: differences due to rounding. the intermunicipal associations and the “indirect public service”.947 29.000 1. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 1991-2001.2 535 34. In West Germany the decline in public employment amounted. The ”personnel density”. was the double of that in West Germany (21) (see table 8). to “only” 12% at Länderlevel and to 13% at the local level7.179 ***26. Thus. Although there are still some continuing differences between East and West Germany. during the last decade.000s Inh. that the Länder and local authorities reduced their staff dramatically.2 -12.482 30. 1. see fn.

3.996 25.000s Inh. there are 48. the administrative functions fall to the Länder. the allocation of administrative functions has been particularly shaped by the use of local authorities as agents for implementing Land legislation. In addition. in line with international developments.8 -53. it is also worth mentioning the administration of water and navigation (with 17.8 1. Thus. public personnel at Länder level is mainly employed in the sectors of public security.000s Inh.4 * Note: differences due to rounding. police and legal protection (20% of the staff . within the Länder administration.000 civil servants in the Federal revenue offices and 42.0 476 30.330 20.7 1.6 1.Table 8: Year/ Change 1991 1994 2001 Change 19912001 in % Public Employment of German Local Authorities 1991-2001 East Germany West Germany Germany* Number in Per 1. containing approximately half of the Länderstaff.000 Number in Per 1. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 1991-2001. In a similar vein. Federal administration is predominantly limited to defence policy.806 22. It was simply a dramatic reaction to growing budgetary pressures that hit the local authorities in particular.1 309 20. 101 . In general we can say that the local level has in particular been subjected to cutbacks and that they have been most active in terms of downsizing their civil services.0 -26. the education sector was remarkably extended.334 20.3 -13.161 17. The high proportion of Länder-personnel primarily corresponds to the “Länder’s” responsibility for culture and education (as mentioned above). 662 41. Länder and Local Level Structuring public personnel by tasks mirrors the peculiar distribution of functions within the German Federal system in which. The education and teaching staff include one third of total public employment in Germany which represents a fourfold increase since 1960 when.000 1.000 employees) and the Federal office of foreign affairs (with 9.470 17.000 employees) (Bogumil/Jann 2005).000 Number in Per 1. already including 64% of the entire Federal staff.2 1.3 Sectors of public employment at Federal. in principle. But this can hardly be taken as an indicator for New Public Management inspired modernisation activities.2 1.000s Inh. 1.500 in the Federal border police (Bundesgrenzschutz) and the Federal criminal investigation office (Bundeskriminalamt)8. 1. Besides education and universities.6 table 9 included in 8 At Federal level.

for example. the welfare associations on average run two thirds of all personal social services in the Federal Republic. including. This applies particularly to public welfare and health policy. but also to public housing and environment protection.g. 102 . take into account that a considerable part of local welfare services (e. the East German Länder employ comparatively more public personnel in social services and in the public health sector than the West German Länder do. the priorities of public employment at local level are to be seen in welfare policy. to a large extent. a stronger emphasis is laid on education. East German communes than in West German local authorities. Most significantly. again.“General Services”). Civil Service Reform The figures presented above show quite clearly that the number of public servants has been reduced considerably . in the final part of this chapter we want to outline some of the personnel management reform initiatives that might be able to counterbalance at least some of the negative consequences of a slimmed-down public service in order “to achieve the same (or even more) with less”. the size of the German civil service is remarkably small (see Naschold/Bogumil 2000 and OECD Public Management Service 2001). in building and housing policy and public transport (see table 10). Interestingly. If we take size and numerical flexibility in a decentralised politicoadministrative system as indicators for the modernity of the public sector. Therefore. At present new thinking in personnel management is mainly directed at reforms of the civil service law and at experiments with “soft” personnel management instruments. since the 1960s. Today. In West Germany. local welfare policies continue to be more important in terms of public personnel . But the continuous downsizing of the public sector has raised some fears that the quality of public service delivery can be undermined considerably. making Germany’s public sector one of the leanest in the OECD-world (Derlien 2002: 232). being rendered by public authorities whereas in West Germany non-public organisations are clearly prevailing. Public servants at local level have. in principle. Germany can obviously stand comparisons with nearly all other European countries. youth hostels) are not rendered by public agencies but according to the “subsidiarity principle” . that local welfare services in East Germany are still. This is presumably due to the fact. thus limiting the municipal sector. science and research (table 9). 9 According to estimates for the early 1990s. however. care for the elderly. All in all. to an “enabling” (and funding) function9. We non-public organisations. by contrast. especially in child and youth care. kindergartens. discharged a growing number of tasks which previously fell to the Länder-administration.even if we take into account that many of the reductions can be put down to the fact that the public sector in East Germany was heavily overstaffed and that reductions in this part of Germany can be regarded as an indispensable process of right-sizing according to West German standards. about 70% of all kindergartens and about 90% of all drug councilling centers (Bönker/Wollmann 1996).

Recreation Housing.67 41. Agriculture.18 0.12 2. Environment.2 34.156.2 0.93 6.2 25.037.5 33.3 146.8 7.00 18. Spacial Planning.47 48.63 6.55 100. Sports.6 1. Common Local Services Nutrition.1 1.0 0.19 13.7 1.000s % 1.78 Sector of Employment General Services** Education. the debate about reform of the civil service regained momentum only in the middle of the 1990s with the preparatory work for the Civil Service Reform Law which was passed by Parliament 103 .13 100.76 8.89 1.7 10.0 1.38 1.Table 9: Sectors of Public Employment in the German Länder (2002) East Germany* West Germany Germany**** Number in Share in Number in Share in Number in Share in 1. **** Note: differences due to rounding.0 36.0 233.29 0.54 11. ** Including Political Executive/Central administration.4 0.2 804.12 1.2 1.1 Modernisation Efforts Related to the Civil Service Reform Law Since the first serious attempt to modernize Germany’s traditional and fairly inflexible civil service (which came to nearly nothing due to strong reservations and resistance to any substantial change by many public servants and by their unions) at the beginning of the 1970s. Trade. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2002.93 7.6 2. Research Social Services. Public Enterprises with commercial double entry accountancy.84 20. Forests Energy and Water Supply.8 16.599.4 556. 4.72 25.64 0.1 2.00 * Including Berlin.4 36.00 26.71 0.9 1.5 26.47 1.2 1. Hospitals.2 36.5 9. Science. *** Universities. Services Transport and Communications Public Enterprises Special Calculations*** Total**** 14.21 0. Reparations Public Health.000s % 1. Public Security.19 539.59 743.9 34.3 7.000s % 205.4 59.47 100.27 1. Calculation: Ute Arbeit.45 9.70 50.19 6. Legal Protection. Welfare.0 8.3 182.5 0.

469.000s % General Administration 52.8 19.26 96.6 17.0 100.05 193.6 100.3 16.000s % 1.96 Total** 308. The new regulations of the Civil Service Reform Law provide better opportunities for delegation (Abordnung) and transfer (Versetzung) of staff members.83 236.5 8.60 114. Civil servants will get the opportunity to work part-time without any preconditions.92 74.5 4.43 69.30 11.83 366.10 10 Due to the new regulations.0 8. it was nearly impossible to delegate or transfer someone against his or her will .73 Culture Social Services/Welfare 58. this law sets the framework for personnel management in the German public service in general. Public Transport Public Facilities.even where duties of the respective authority had changed or had disappeared completely.7 5.94 183.09 95.8 5. 20. the share of part-time employment has increased from 5% to 10% at the federal level and from 11% to 15% at the state level (Bundesministerium des Innern 2001: 14).09 Science. As far as employment contracts are concerned .19 104.2 7. The framework can be put into concrete terms by the States (Länder) according to their special requirements in personnel management. “working hour budgets over one year” (Arbeitszeitkonten) and sabbaticals.8 16.08 Economic Promotion Public Enterprises 0.2 7. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt 2001.41 88. Research. According to the above mentioned constitutional responsibilities of the Federation.9 8.5 8.the Civil Service Reform Law additionally contains important elements related to higher flexibility.Table 10: Sectors of Public Employment in German Local Authorities (2001) East Germany West Germany Germany** Number in Share in Number in Share in Number in Share in 1.83 Special Calculations* 66.77 Schools 22.69 299.8 24.19 Public Health.5 8.5 7. 18.69 252.1 4.161. 17. Sports. especially full dedication to public service.23 120.67 83.9 21.86 51.20 Policy.09 Recreation Housing and Building 25. they were not allowed to do this according to the traditional principles of a professional civil service (hergebrachte Grundsätze des Berufsbeamtentums). The new regulation for parttime work also provides more scope for greater flexibility in the form of flexible working hours.9 0. (Deutscher Bundestag) in February 1997.0 8. job sharing.97 12.00 Sector of Employment * Hospitals and Public Enterprises with commercial double entry book-keeping.0 7. In the traditional system.00 1.1 5.6 6.2 0.1 0.6 4. 104 .9 25.06 Public Security 26.00 1.7 100. In the past.31 118.1 16.4 7. ** Note: differences due to rounding.8 15.000s % 1.74 57.

One element is that the system of increments every two years has been re-arranged and no longer depends exclusively on seniority but also on individual performance. heads of departments (Abteilungsleiter) and most of the heads of sections (Referatsleiter) in state ministries. the Federation as well as most of the States are still hesitating about introducing performance-related pay systems (PRP). because the overall majority of the work force will not . these new regulations have been used and introduced to a large extent (Bundesministerium des Innern 2001: 6-10). either as bonus or as extra pay. the Civil Service Reform Law is (in addition with similar regulations for public employees) a first step in the direction towards more flexibility 105 .due to the tight regulation in the Civil Service Reform Law . The second option is to establish temporary executive duties (Führungsfunktion auf Zeit) for civil servants who hold leading posts. They seem to be very uncertain about the validity of their appraisal systems. Altogether. after meeting all requirements associated with the higher position during these two years the civil servant will be appointed for lifetime. like heads of an authority (Behördenleiter). Additionally. This is not very surprising because in practice these systems tend to lead to an inflation of the performance marks awarded. Interestingly. And public employers obviously seem to be afraid of poisoning the working atmosphere (already Kohn 1993). This means that the personnel evaluation has very little significance for the promotion of staff and is certainly not very appropriate for performance-related pay (White/Löffler 1998: 14). But performancebased promotions must be neutral as far as costs are concerned which implies that the faster promotion of some well-performing civil servants has to be compensated by the slower promotion of other civil servants (Oechsler 1997: 31). And finally.benefit from extra money resources at all. Temporary executive duties are regarded as an opportunity to correct inappropriate decisions and to cancel the appointment of people who are obviously not able to meet the requirements for top managers in the public sector. the Civil Service Reform Law provides the opportunity to downgrading top civil servants with poor leadership performance. the Federation and the States are allowed to introduce single bonuses for exceptional results (Leistungsprämien als Einmalzahlungen) and extra pay for a limited period of one year (Leistungszulagen). It provides some elements which might be able to supersede traditional civil service regulations which are not conducive to the achievement principle. bonuses and extra pay are restricted to 10% of civil servants and extra pay must not exceed seven per cent of the initial or starting salary of the respective grade. Although there is a lot of scepticism and criticism that these regulations will open the way to increased party politicisation of the higher ranks of the German civil service. The first option is to give somebody a leading position on probation usually for two years.Another part of the Civil Service Reform Law opens up the opportunity for the Federation itself and for States (Länder) to introduce financial incentives “for those staff members whose performance is higher than others”. The small survey we have been conducting at state level gives a very clear picture that the vast majority of the state governments are not yet ready to introduce even a relatively moderate system of PRP (see also Bundesministerium des Innern 2001: 5). In order to prevent decisions in accordance with the principle of “giving everyone a slice of the cake” and excessive payments.

personnel has mainly been seen as a cost factor. But personnel development means investing in people with additional financial burdens for public authorities. However. there have been a number of “soft” personnel management reforms at different levels of the German public sector . This confirms the impression of many practitioners and scholars that personnel is still predominantly perceived as a cost factor and not as a productivity factor. to improve citizen orientation and financial room for manoeuvre. That means all attempts to modernise Germany’s civil service must also be seen in the context of the still dominant administrative culture in Germany that is based 106 . for example. All in all. it is still a fairly small step because Germany’s civil service is still different and strongly moulded by the traditional principles of the civil service and the corresponding. administrative reforms in Germany were driven by the need to make savings.but normally without any coherent integrative strategic approach (Kuhlmann 2006).2 Modernisation Efforts Related to Human Resources Management Without any doubt.personnel management is still not seen as a reform objective in its own right: The large majority of cities has initiated public management reforms in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of local administration.and it makes many staff members more and more suspicious that new concepts of personnel management might only be tricky strategies for further downsizing in the disguise of administrative reform. but only a small proportion of the cities interviewed considered the motivation of their employees and personnel development. as a primary objective of reforms. This implied downsizing on the one hand and an emphasis on the flexibilization of resource management on the other hand. 4. If personnel is to be reduced in absolute size. In that respect many of the regulations fall behind what many scholars and critical practitioners consider necessary for the public sector especially for introducing a modern human resources management approach (see for example Oechsler/Vaanholt 1997). But there are signs of an increasing awareness in German public administration that personnel is also a productivity factor. Especially at the local level efforts have focused on issues such as goal and performance agreements between employees supervisors. in many respects even more rigid labour regulations for public employees. it will be necessary to better motivate staff and to promote personnel development in order to unleash the hidden productivity potential. Jann 2004). This appears to be a vicious circle . Many of these personnel management instruments aim at increasing the managerial flexibility of employees by shifting from a control-based command system to a more trust-based co-operative working style. it comes as no surprise that . Under the present financial constraints.according to survey data from the German Association of Cities (Deutscher Städtetag) . evaluation of superiors. Compared to other European countries that have brought their civil services more in line with “normal” industrial law (Naschold/Jann/Reichard 1999.and modernity. employee surveys and training of superiors in leadership skills.

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