Navigation path


Establishing priorities and allocating resources

To ensure that we can deliver on present and future demands, we need to set clear priorities and make sure that the necessary resources are made available. How do we do this in practice?
We have implemented a strategic planning, programming and reporting cycle, which starts with an orientation debate of the 'college' of Commissioners, followed by the Annual Policy Strategy decision in which the Commission decides on its policy priorities for a year, its key initiatives and the orientations for the resource allocation process and the operational programming by the services.
The basic concepts are simple: to establish priorities, discuss them with Parliament and Council, plan in the Directorates-General and present a Work Programme, execute it and then report on the results.
In line with this approach, non-core tasks have increasingly been outsourced to executive agencies and to administrative offices, in order to allow Commission staff to concentrate on essential tasks.
Find out more about:

Professionalising Human Resources

Our staff are the Commission’s greatest asset. That’s why an efficient Commission requires an efficient human resources management.
On 1st May 2004, the new Staff Regulations, which is the main legislative text on staff’s rights and obligations, entered into force, completing a far-reaching modernisation of the Commission’s human resource policy. Amongst the major changes:

  • a new career structure, which recognises and rewards proven ability and performance;
  • a new appraisal system, which creates a closer link between objective annual assessments and career evolution;
  • a culture of lifelong learning;
  • new mobility rules, which  encourage staff to change their positions every two to five years. Top and middle managers and staff in sensitive posts (e.g. awarding of contracts and grants, etc.) must change their positions every 5 years; 

Find out more about:

Decentralising financial management

Simplification, decentralisation and the responsabilisation of the departments were the guiding principles when the Commission decided to modernise its financial management system.
'Decentralisation' was particularly important as under our old system of financial controls, every transaction had to be approved by a central financial control, which was often far removed from the service managing the activity in question.
So, no ‘controls’ anymore on how we spend taxpayers’ money? Nothing is further from reality:

  • those who authorise expenditure and payments are now personally liable for their actions ;
  • a Central Financial Service gives central professional support and advice to anyone dealing with budgetary and financial management;
  • a separate Internal Audit Service provides reassurance as to the sound functioning of the control over operations at Commission level;
  • on 1st January 2005, we moved to accrual accounting, thereby complying with the international accounting standards for the public sector developed by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Simplifying tools and procedures

The simplification of internal procedures mostly followed a bottom-up approach, which involved staff across the different departments. As a result, we reviewed several internal procedures (e.g. delegation procedure, interservice consultations, linguistic aspects of decision-making procedures), which led to a major overhaul of the Commission’s Manual of Operating Procedures in 2003.
This process has been accompanied by a number of initiatives to implement leading web-based solutions in the areas of human resources and financial control.
Digital technologies enable us to exchange information more effectively, radically transforming the way we communicate among our services and with our partner institutions, citizens and civil society groups.

Find out more about the e-Commission.

Commission civil service