A look ahead to the civil service in 25 years: Five minutes with Cristian Ianusi from Romania’s Ministry of Finance

By on 07/06/2024 | Updated on 07/06/2024
Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In this interview, Cristian Ianusi, advisor to the secretary of state in Romania’s Ministry of Public Finance, discusses digital transformation in the civil service and key innovations from Romania. He also shares his ideas on how the civil service might evolve over the coming decades.

This is part of a ‘Five minutes’ series featuring participants from this week’s Global Government Finance Summit in Dublin (5-6 June). 

What drew you to a career in the civil service? 

The idea to follow a career in the civil service was influenced by a combination of professional goals, personal values and practical considerations.

The desire to contribute positively to society and improve the lives of citizens and the idea of working on policies and programmes that address social issues such as education, healthcare, and public safety. The combination of personal fulfilment, professional growth, and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on society makes the civil service an attractive career choice.

What do you like most about working in the civil service? 

Working in the civil service offers several appealing aspects, but what stands out the most for many is the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on society. The civil service offers a wide range of fields and specialties. This diversity allows individuals to find roles that match their skills and interests. Another great thing about the civil service is the access to various educational and career advancement opportunities.

Governments invest in the training and development of their employees.

Also, the collaboration with a diverse group of colleagues, including experts from various fields and stakeholders from different sectors, makes this an even more enjoyable environment.

Read more: From the financial crisis to the future of AI: Five minutes with Iceland’s director of economic affairs

And what do you dislike about it? 

While working in the civil service can be highly rewarding, it also comes with its own set of challenges and drawbacks. I’ll start with the bureaucratic nature of government work that can lead to slow decision-making processes, which can be frustrating for those who are used to a faster-paced environment. Working with outdated technologies and processes can be a common issue, especially in agencies that haven’t fully embraced digital transformation. Frequent changes in government can lead to shifts in priorities and policies, causing instability and uncertainty in long-term projects,

Despite these challenges, many civil servants find the benefits and rewards of public service outweigh the drawbacks. The sense of purpose and opportunity to make a difference in society are compelling reasons to remain in the civil service despite the potential downsides.

How might the civil service be different in 25 years’ time?  

Predicting the future of the civil service involves considering current trends and potential developments in technology, society, and governance. The best way that civil service might change in the next 25 years is through digital transformation.

Advances in technology will likely lead to a fully digital civil service. Processes that are currently manual will be automated, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play significant roles in decision-making and service delivery. This will improve efficiency and responsiveness to public needs.

Digital transformation in the civil service represents a significant shift in how government functions and interacts with citizens.

In 25 years, the civil service is poised to be a highly efficient, transparent, and responsive entity, leveraging advanced technologies to serve the public more effectively and inclusively. The transformation will require continuous adaptation and a focus on ethical considerations, ensuring that technological advancements benefit all citizens.

Which country’s civil service or which government department or agency are you most inspired by and why?

In my opinion, I think the Ministry of Defence offers a dose of inspiration through its structure and day-to-day work. Their strategic leadership, dedication, sacrifice and willingness to serve and protect their country is a source of great admiration.

Read more: ‘Choose your words and manage your time wisely’: Five minutes with Noureddine Bensouda, Morocco’s finance chief

Are there any projects or innovations in your country that might be valuable to your peers overseas? 

In the pre-university education system, a large number of students are at risk of school failure or drop out early as school attendance is directly influenced by unfavourable socio-economic and geographical conditions, such as long distances, difficult routes from home to school, and lack of lunch. The Romanian Government decided to implement a pilot programme to provide food support for students in state pre-university education establishments.

The ‘Hot Meal’ programme in Romania is an initiative to provide a daily hot meal to students in disadvantaged schools. The main aim of the programme is to support children from vulnerable backgrounds, improving both their nutrition and their school attendance and performance. The programme is mainly targeted at students in schools in areas at high risk of dropout and poverty and is aimed at both urban and rural schools, with a particular focus on economically disadvantaged communities. The programme is financed from the state budget and funds are allocated by the Ministry of Education and Research. Initial evaluations have shown that the programme has had a positive impact on school attendance and student performance.

The ‘Hot Meal’ programme is an important initiative to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds, with significant benefits for their education and health. The continuation and expansion of the programme can have a major impact in reducing school drop-out and improving the quality of life of Romanian students.

What attributes do you most value in people? 

Kindness, selflessness, determination and honesty are just some of the attributes I appreciate in people.

If you weren’t a civil servant, what would you be?  

Because I played football from the age of 6 to 19, I think I could still be a footballer.

What’s your favourite thing to do at the weekends?

Going out with friends, watching movies or a TV series, and staying with family.

What is your dream holiday destination? 

Los Angeles, United States of America.

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