12.02.20

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Censored EPO Publication: Staff Representatives Cannot Comment on the Survey Conducted by the Office’s Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You must participate in our survey but don't comment on results we publishSummary: EPO management tried to muzzle EPO staff after the Office-wide staff survey turned out to be “nothing short of a disaster.”

A PAST publication which was fully reproduced here and elsewhere concerned the WTW “results” [PDF], as published back in 2019. “The results of the Staff Survey “Your voice, our future” are disastrous,” staff representatives (CSC) noted at the time. “Management is currently censoring a CSC paper,” they noted, “about the results of the Staff Survey “Your voice, our future”.”

Here are some key bits (the PDF is clearer):

WTW results 1

WTW results 2

Those are just 2 slides among a deck of about 50. The censored part is the reply to it from the staff representatives (CSC), who noted back then: “The results of the Office wide staff survey “Your voice, our future” are out and they are nothing short of a disaster. We share the analysis in the article published on Kluwer Patent Blog: many expected the results to be bad, but few expected them to be so abysmal. The EPO scores far below the expected level of an international organisation.

“Isn’t it funny that EPO management is suppressing a response to its very own ‘study’ (staff survey)?”“Earlier this year, Mr Campinos conducted the first Office-wide staff survey since 2016. Following the extremely negative feedback his predecessor, Mr Battistelli, had received on his leadership in a 2011 survey, EPO staff were only surveyed once more during his presidency, and then only within the context of his “2016 Social Study”. However, just three years later and with a new President, staff were apparently eager to be heard: the participation rate was at a record-breaking 85% (2011: 72%). Nevertheless, the results of the present survey remain a great concern. Moreover, the same problems that have plagued the Office for many years are still very evident and unresolved.

“We encourage all colleagues to review the results for themselves and draw their own conclusions. This paper simply presents and comments upon what we consider to be the main findings from an analysis of the results.

“Our provisional conclusion

“Anyone going through the 2011 WTW survey, or browsing through the 2016 PWC Social Study, the 2016 Technologia Staff Survey, and the recent IT Audit will see that today’s survey results are neither a surprise nor a statistical anomaly. Instead, they are a dangerous continuation of a long-standing trend, that of a sinking ship. We are concerned that the apparent reaction of the President in his communiqué “Your voice, our future results” is not proportionate to the seriousness of the situation.The President apparently favours continuity and appeals to us to trust his good intentions, promising that the next step will bring more changes. Trust is a tender plant and needs to be nurtured with care and consistently. It is the key element for management credibility, as the staff survey has shown. Continuing policies and behaviour that got us where we are now are unlikely to get us where we aspire to be.”

Isn’t it funny that EPO management is suppressing a response to its very own ‘study’ (staff survey)? Earlier this years we learned that based on a survey not controlled by the Office but by the representation (or offloaded to the union), only 3% of staff trusts António Campinos. That’s like one pupil in a classroom of 33.

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