Bonum Certa Men Certa

EPO Talent Planning & Architecture is Another Attack on EPO Staff and the Central Staff Committee (CSC) Explains Why

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Feb 21, 2024

Man writes

THE Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the understaffed EPO took note of an Office announcement almost coinciding with the General Assembly.

Many people's hearts sank (yet again) and the following message explains why:

Dear Colleagues,

In the Intranet announcement of 25 January 2024, the Office announced the nomination of a new Director for Talent Planning & Architecture. From the organigram of PD 4.2 it appears that the post will be involving the direct management of people, mainly DG 4 staff. On top of that, the post will be at the heart of the processes involving the progression, role, and function of a very large number of staff.

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) received an unusually large amount of feedback from colleagues. Some of them were very emotional and highly concerned about this staffing decision.

We remember that the President assured us at the meeting of the General Consultative Committee (GCC) on 10 December 2020 that the person now proposed would no longer be given any personnel responsibility. It is even reflected in the minutes[1] of this GCC that the person now appointed person will not manage staff. This was the outcome of a costly process for the EPO and a relief for many staff members.

In this letter to the President, the CSC raises questions in relation to staff on the appointment process and requests the President to reconsider the staffing decision.

Sincerely yours,

The Central Staff Committee - CSC

The letter to António Campinos is relatively short and we reproduce it as HTML, plain text, and GemText below:

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
Germany

Central Staff Committee
Comité central du personnel
Zentraler Personalausschuss

centralSTCOM@epo.org

Tel. +49 -89- 2399 - 2120

Reference: sc24007cl

Date: 07.02.2024

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY

Mr António Campinos
President of the EPO

by email

Dear President

Nomination in the Directorate Talent Planning and Architecture

Dear Mr President,
Dear António,

The well-being of individual EPO employees is an important value that we commonly share. We are addressing you personally following an unusually large amount of feedback from colleagues. Some of them were very emotional and highly concerned about a staffing decision.

In the Intranet announcement of 25 January 2024, you announced the nomination of a new Director for Talent Planning & Architecture. From the organigram of PD 4.2 it appears that the post will be involving the direct management of people, mainly DG 4 staff. On top of that, the post will be at the heart of the processes involving the progression, role, and function of a very large number of staff.

We remember that you assured us at the meeting of the GCC on 10 December 2020 that the person now proposed would no longer be given any personnel responsibility. It is even reflected in the minutes1 of this GCC that you stated that the now appointed person will not manage staff. This was the outcome of a costly process for the EPO and a relief for many staff members.

The CSC wonders which circumstances have motivated this change of mind on your side since you attach great importance to the consistency of your decisions.

With the appointed person in a different position, the last three years have gone by without issues, to the betterment of all. Now you have decided to depart from this peaceful situation and revert

_____________

1 “The Chair – Confirmed that the advisor would not have a managerial role”, Minutes of GCC meeting of 10-12-2020, p.9.


to a situation where tensions are bound to arise, be it in the form of stress and anxiety or conflict.

This very avoidable appointment to such an interactive role causes dismay, given that the well-being and ability to work of many staff is put on the balance against a change of role of a single person.

Regarding the appointment process, the following questions arise in relation to staff:

• Does this change of role take place after an objective improvement of the individual’s managerial competencies?

• Has the EPO provided the person with the necessary training of soft and social skills?

• If not, how could the appointment process reassess the ability to interact with staff?

Regarding the outcome of the appointment affecting staff the following questions arise:

• The deliverables of the job do not appear to be new. With so many qualified staff in the EPO, was there no one else able to perform the tasks expected for this job?

In view of these questions, we would ask you to reconsider the staffing decision. Given the great and widespread concern among staff, the CSC is of course ready at any time for an urgent meeting on this matter.

The CSC remains committed to its statutory role in shaping the best working environment and atmosphere for all the people concerned.

Yours sincerely,
Derek Kelly
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

Not much has changed since the days of Benoît Battistelli except a few faces changed, not the policy, which became more overzealous about granting European software patents. Will you resist or obey?

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