Argentina ends remote working for officials; 5% of UK civil servants to be apprentices: management and workforce news in brief

By on 12/05/2022 | Updated on 12/05/2022
A picture of the Casa Rosada, government office of the President of Argentina
The Casa Rosada, government office of the President of Argentina by Ken Walker, used under Creative Commons

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Argentina returns to pre-COVID office work for civil servants

The government in Argentina has called on all civil servants to return to working in the office with the same frequency as they were before the coronavirus pandemic.

Ana Castellani, a senior official in the government as the secretary of public management and employment, told staff earlier this month that staff should return to the working arrangements they had before the 12 March 2020 decree that mandated staff work remotely as the pandemic took hold.

Staff began to return to their offices in August last year, and have since been working flexibly with both “scheduled attendance” in their office and times set for telework. Government employees were required to have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Under the new back-to-the-office rules, those officials who have not been vaccinated must ”sign an affidavit stating that they have received and understood the information related to vaccination and that they assume all responsibility derived from the conduct they adopt”, according to the MercoPress website.

Read more: Were governments right to introduce COVID-19 vaccine mandates?

5% of UK civil servants to be apprentices by 2025 under recruitment plan

The UK government has pledged to boost the number of apprentice civil servants in an effort to boost recruitment from Britain’s “forgotten communities”.

In an updated apprenticeship strategy, Alex Chisholm, the civil service chief operating officer, and Heather Wheeler, a minster in the Cabinet Office, said the government would aim for 5% of the civil service workforce to be apprentices by 2025.

Latest statistics show there were 508,000 employees in the civil service in December 2021, which would mean that there would be 25,400 apprentices – although the government has pledged to make reductions in the number of “non-frontline” officials, which some estimates have said could amount to 55,000 posts.

The new target comes after more than 30,000 apprentices have been recruited in the civil service since the original apprenticeship strategy was published in 2017, according to Chisholm and Wheeler.

“The positive impact of their ‘learning while doing’ is evident across the UK – from the national COVID response and bringing people in Afghanistan to safety, to improving digital public services. Our apprentices are improving lives and spending taxpayers’ money with care while developing skills they will need and use throughout their careers,” they said.

“We see the apprenticeship model as integral to training a cadre of new government administrators with the skills to perform anywhere in our complex system. The benefits of apprenticeships are great, for the civil service and the country, and this strategy will help us recruit and nurture the many talents waiting to be tapped around the UK.”

Read more: UK Treasury staff warned security passes being used to check who’s at their desk

Greek competition commission ‘starved of staff’

The Greek government’s competition commission has warned that it is so short staffed that crucial cases risk being abandoned.

Less than 50% of posts at the Competition Commission are filled, according to the Kathimerini news website. It has highlighted that appointments through the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection can take up to two years, which has left it with a staff shortage.

Kathimerini reported that the commission has raised the issue with the prime minister, and now plans to inform the European Commission as the lack of staff may mean it is unable to meet the requirements around national competition authorities.

GGF training: Dynamic Regulation – Regulating for Now and the Future

US federal officials ‘less satisfied at work due to return to the office’

US federal workers reported a dip in both job engagement and satisfaction according to the results of an annual survey, in what the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has put down to a departure from remote working.

The 2021 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) showed employee engagement fell by one point, from 72% in 2020, to 71% last year. Meanwhile, the satisfaction index used to gauge staff morale dropped five points from 69% in 2020 to 64% last autumn, when the latest survey was conducted.

OPM suggested that the fall in engagement and job satisfaction scores were partly due to the survey having been taken while agencies were bringing federal workers back into traditional workspaces and deciding how best to implement flexible working conditions permanently as part of a hybrid working environment.

Read the story in full: US federal officials ‘less satisfied at work due to return to the office’

About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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