The Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function has adopted, in the two months of alarm, a set of more than 60 measures with the aim of "saving lives", protecting the health of people and guaranteeing the functioning of public services. Likewise, it has reinforced essential services with more than 1,500 public employees. This has been revealed by Minister Carolina Darias, who has appeared in a Commission in the Congress of Deputies, to account for the actions of the Ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic and its contribution to the set of measures of the Government of Spain.
"This pandemic is leaving us with many lessons. One is that people with public responsibilities are obliged to seek a common minimum of understanding, acting in a coordinated manner from the different administrations to face the health emergency and tackle the social and economic reconstruction that We need. Without a doubt, the most important challenge of the last decades, "said the minister, adding that" it is now when we have to give the best of ourselves to reach the Pacts of Social and Economic Reconstruction in this country. "
In this sense, he has referred to the commitment of public employees who, despite the difficult circumstances, have made it possible for everything to continue working. Also to the strength of the institutions that, with successes and errors, have given a response in accordance with the demands of this unprecedented health crisis. And he stressed that "the best bulwark in the fight against this pandemic is being the exemplary behavior of the citizenry", which, with enormous sacrifice, prevents the spread of the virus by staying at home, limiting their outlets and acting responsibly.
I remember the victims and recognition of the medical personnel
Darias has begun his speech in Congress expressing his condolences to the families of the 27,321 people who died from the virus and sharing with his relatives the pain of his absence, because "it is never easy to fire a loved one, less in these circumstances in the that we haven't even been able to mourn them. We will honor them together as they deserve. "
Likewise, he has indicated two data, one for hope, such as that of the 143,374 diagnosed people who have recovered, and another for prudence, which reflects the preliminary result of the National Sero-Epidemiological Study, according to which, only the 5% of the Spanish population has antibodies against the coronavirus.
For all the people who are acting on the front lines every day to minimize the consequences of the pandemic, the minister has had words of thanks, especially to the health personnel, and to all public employees, because their work, commitment and dedication are "a lighthouse" and "his dignity, the reason for being of this country".
Functioning of the institutions
The Minister has indicated that, since March 14, the Government of Spain has been adopting measures to save lives and mitigate the social and economic impact, with a respectful balance between the requirements derived from sanitary measures, the needs of the activity economic and the inescapable duty to respect the freedoms and rights of citizens.
"Our institutions during the state of alarm have been subjected to a very tough stress test, with the sole reason that all we have been doing is to save lives. After the journey we have taken, we are incorporating a new normality in which the culture of personal protection has a very prominent place, because we have reactivated social and economic life, but with enough caution knowing that the virus is still there. "
The minister has pointed out that the current situation highlights the need to accelerate some of the six major transformations pointed out by the Prime Minister in his investiture speechsuch as digital transformation, territorial understanding or just transition, as well as the entrenchment of economic growth and the creation of quality employment, social justice and full equality for women.
The organization of work in a short period of time has involved a significant effort by the personnel of the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function throughout the territory, so that the units have maintained their ordinary work in person and not in person; new mechanisms have been activated, promoting non-face-to-face meetings and gatherings; Shifts have been organized and schedules have been made more flexible. "We have had to anticipate measures that were part of the legislature's itinerary and many of them are here to stay."
During this time, there has been an increase in telephone, written and social media inquiries about the different published standards, by citizens, by management bodies of different ministerial departments and by other public administrations.
Six blocks of measures of the Ministry of Territorial policy and Public Function
The minister has presented the six blocks of measures of the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function adopted within the scope of her powers:
1. Human resources measures in the field of the AGE to guarantee the safety of people and the continuity of the provision of public services.
Faced with the situation generated by the evolution of COVID-19, on March 10, the Secretary of State for Territorial Policy and Public Function issued a resolution in which organizational measures were adopted, combining the protection of the health of the employees public, with the adequate provision of public services. This Resolution, and the subsequent one of March 12, complementary to the first, agreed and shared with the union representatives that make up the General Negotiating Table of the General State Administration (AGE), regulating the following matters:
- The personnel at the service of the AGE who were in a situation of isolation due to COVID-19, continued to receive one hundred percent of their remuneration.
- For staff with minors under their care, before the centers closed, measures were established to make hours more flexible and to remain in their homes.
- Telephone and telematic attention to the public was prioritized.
- The use of videoconferencing was promoted.
- The calls for selective tests were suspended, except those related to face the COVID.
Weekly, these resolutions have been monitored to verify the incidence of COVID in the different ministerial departments. Thus, the minister has presented the updated data to May 8, which reflects that there are 49,667 personnel providing service in person (27.71%), 111,472 through non-contact modalities (62.18%), and 3,163 in isolation. (1.76%). In addition, 81,351 videoconference meetings have been held.
– De-escalation plan
In accordance with the Descaling Plan approved by the Government of Spain, the Minister explained that, for the progressive recovery of normality in the labor sphere of the AGE, the Secretary of State for Territorial Policy and Public Function issued on May 4 Another Resolution with the measures to be adopted in the workplace, negotiated with the union organizations, and among which are:
- Priority of the provision of work in non-face-to-face modalities, compatible with face-to-face modalities, evaluating criteria on the nature of the functions to be carried out, geographic location, vulnerable groups, and those who deal with minors or adults affected by the closure of centers.
- Non-contact work will not affect the hours and hours or the remuneration, and the necessary rest must be respected in any case.
- Public employees in a situation of temporary disability, who have or have had recent symptoms related to COVID19 or who have been in close contact with affected persons, may not join work.
- Priority of telephonic and telematic attention in public attention services. The face-to-face care will be by appointment, the capacity will be limited, minimizing the health risks.
- Establishment of flexible hours. The opening hours of the work centers may be extended until 9:00 p.m.
- Several phases of transition towards normality are established, in accordance with the Plan of the Government of Spain.
- In each of the phases, the gradual reincorporation of essential people is recommended, so that the sectors provide services normally and safely.
- Public employees belonging to groups defined by the Ministry of Health as vulnerable groups will not be incorporated in phases 0 and I.
- In general, work meetings will be held by audio or videoconferences, avoiding face-to-face meetings as much as possible.
- The courses and training activities will be carried out preferably by telematic means.
- As soon as the suspension of administrative deadlines ends, the selective processes may be processed on an ordinary basis.
Likewise, on April 22, the General Secretariat of Public Function issued a Instruction with the lines of action regarding occupational risk prevention. The AGE, according to the unions integrated in the General Bargaining Table of art. 36.3 of TREBEP, within the Technical Commission for the Prevention of Occupational Risks, constituted on March 25 a working group to follow up on the impact of COVID-19 on its personnel, carrying out their work weekly.
-Measures to reinforce the provision of public services in essential areas to face the crisis
The health crisis caused by COVID-19 in Spain has caused an overload in certain essential public services, especially in health and employment. For this reason, measures have been adopted to reinforce the personnel in these areas, with the urgent authorization of personnel hiring quotas in certain organizations and essential areas. The temporary collaboration of public employees and employees in areas and activities other than those of their workplace has also been enabled.
a) Authorization of personnel contracts in essential areas. The hiring of 1,540 employees has been urgently authorized for: National Institute of Health Management (INGESA), Corps of Regular Doctors and Nurses Scale of OO.AA., services of the Government Delegations and Subdelegations. Also for the Corps of Medical Doctors of the Ministry of Health, the Optional Corps of Penitentiary Health; Public State Employment Service (SEPE), Salary Guarantee Fund (FOGASA), Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (IMSERSO). In addition, the Management, Administrative and Auxiliary Bodies of the State Civil Administration have been strengthened; National Veterinary Corps and State Agronomic Engineers, Border Inspection Posts (PIF) and the Emergency Monitoring and Coordination Center of the Ministry of the Interior. Likewise, the hiring of labor and statutory personnel has been authorized for the Hospital Defense Network and the Military Pharmacy Center.
In addition, 288 sessions have been authorized for the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, the Social Institute of the Navy, companies of the MERCASA Group, the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) and the Systems Engineering for Defense of Spain. The human resources of the General Technical Secretariat of the Ministry of Health have also been strengthened, with the provision of legal experts for the Undersecretariat of Health.
b) Regulation of the possibility of collaboration of public employees in areas and activities, different from those of their job. The eighteenth additional provision of the Royal Decree-Law 11/2020, which adopts urgent complementary measures in the social and economic field, to face COVID-19, foresees the possibility that female and male employees, without altering their administrative situation, their remuneration or the conditions of their contract, may voluntarily support those areas and activities, other than those of their job, of a socio-sanitary nature, of employment, for the protection of vulnerable groups and those others that require a reinforcement in terms of personnel as a consequence of the situation caused by the pandemic. Currently, the current number of employees in this situation is 779.
-Measures related to the selection and training of public employees
3,846 non-face-to-face and 137 face-to-face courses have been held and 1,627 courses have been postponed. The AGE training centers have been prioritizing online training, which has made it possible to have a useful and effective tool to reconcile the situation of confinement with the continuity of activities. Regarding the selection processes, 185 selective tests have been postponed. The selective processes underway before the declaration of the alarm status will continue when the health situation permits.
You have detailed at this point that the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP) continues to work on the development of selective processes, with the aim that, once the health crisis has been overcome and normality has recovered, they can be resumed with the least harm to applicants. The suspension of terms has served in this sense as an instrument to guarantee the rights of the applicants.
Regarding the selective courses corresponding to the 2018 Public Employment Offer, Darias specified that the INAP has made a great effort to carry them out electronically in those cases in which the opponents had passed the tests and their attendance was face-to-face. The activities of the selective course of the Superior Body of Civil Administrators of the State and the Superior Body of Systems and Technologies have been resumed by virtual means.
2. Measures aimed at facilitating territorial cooperation
Presidents and Presidents Conferences. 9 Conferences have been held, the highest coordinating body between the Government, the 17 autonomous communities and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. The minister has indicated that this exercise of permanent co-governance has become a strategic issue for the Government of Spain with the determination that, beyond COVID, it continues to be an essential tool for understanding.
Actions of the Government Delegations and Subdelegations in Support of the Autonomous Communities. The minister has valued the work in the coordination of the actions of the different ministries and with the administrations, such as that carried out to distribute sanitary material (96 million units) in all the territories. Among the actions, he has mentioned the following:
- Daily report on the incidence of COVID-19 in the territories, with detailed information on the number of workers affected or the shortage problems of basic products in supermarkets, in the first days of the crisis.
- Compilation of queries from the territories on the application of Royal Decree 463/2020, as well as the processing and management of the corresponding responses and transfer of instructions and orders from the delegated authorities to the territories.
- Establishment of coordination centers, in order to maintain daily contact with the autonomous communities and guarantee collaboration.
- Follow-up and permanent contact with the heads of the PIF, in charge of the control of the merchandise that arrives at our ports and airports, from third countries, in charge of the inspection to guarantee that they comply with all the guarantees and avoid possible sanitary and phytosanitary risks.
Relations with the CCAA. In order to put measures in common and share issues of interest, the Ministry has sent information to the representatives of the autonomous communities competent in matters of public function on the measures adopted in the field of public employment. The Public Employment Coordination Commission has met twice by videoconference, to review the measures adopted against COVID-19 and guarantee the operation of the public administration and the provision of public services. In addition, calls for the Sectoral Conference on Public Administration and the Conference for Affairs with the European Union (CARUE) are planned in the coming days.
3. Measures to guarantee the democratic and effective functioning of the Local Entities
"The people who are at the head of our municipalities, councils, councils and island councils deserve our recognition for their leading role in this health crisis, always alongside their neighbors to offer the services they require at all times," stressed the minister. .
In the Second Final Provision of Royal Decree-Law 11/2020, by which urgent complementary measures are adopted, a section was added to article 46 of Law 7/1985, regulating the Bases of the Local Regime, so that, in situations exceptional that impede or hinder the operation of the face-to-face regime of the sessions of the collegiate bodies of the Local Entities, it can be constituted, hold sessions and adopt remote agreements by electronic and telematic means.
4. Legal monitoring and report on the regulatory projects, provisions and acts of the State, the autonomous communities and local entities
Through the General Directorate of Autonomous and Local Legal Regime, the Ministry continues to monitor and report on regulatory projects of the State, autonomous communities and local entities, regarding their adaptation to the constitutional order of distribution of powers.
The Communities' Acts and Provisions Monitoring Commission has analyzed 20 autonomous norms (14 have been reported without observations; 5 are pending a report or decision and only one has given rise to a procedure under article 33.2 LOTC. In addition, the Court Constitutional, unanimously, has accepted the appeal of unconstitutionality on certain articles of the Decree-Law of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia 2/2020, of March 9.
5. Measures in the field of administrative mutualism
In coherence with what is established for the workers of the General Social Security Regime by Royal Decree-Law 6/2020, it is also established for the personnel of the administrative mutualism regime, that the periods of isolation or contagion as a consequence of COVID-19 they are considered a situation assimilated to an accident at work. Likewise, during the validity of the state of alarm and so that the mutual members of MUFACE and MUGEJU, who begin or continue in a situation of temporary disability, continue to receive their remuneration, they have issued norms to cover the processing and payment of all situations of temporary disability. On the other hand, agreements have been approved with health services of the CCAA (Valencia, Galicia, Madrid, Balearic Islands, Castilla y León and the Canary Islands) to extend the electronic prescription.
6. Measures that will help prepare for de-escalation
The Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function has begun to work dialoguing and collaborating with trade union organizations and the autonomous communities for the new phases, added the minister, who insisted that all staff are focused on the progressive recovery of normality in the workplace of the General State Administration.
According to the prevention committees, the undersecretaries of each ministry will implement the measures to be adopted in the different departments. Starting from a general framework, it is a matter of guaranteeing the homogeneity of the actions for the gradual and asymmetric reincorporation of female and male employees to the workplace in person, taking into account the territorial structure of each department and the adaptation of measures to the evolution of the crisis. Measures that combine progressivity with health and safety guarantees for female and male employees in the performance of their duties, without prejudice to the workplace implementing in turn the protocols, codes of good practice and safety procedures and public health of the Ministry of Health.
The agreement with trade union organizations is a very important aspect of the measures adopted, which establish a general framework in the General State Administration, which in turn must be developed for its application by the different departments and agencies through the tables or corresponding participation bodies.
"All public institutions, starting with the Head of State, are doing their best, to work together, with a great sense of responsibility and institutional loyalty. We need to recognize that this country has known how to rise to the enormous challenge that supposes this pandemic ", has assured the minister, who has insisted that the Government of Spain makes a great effort to maintain a difficult balance between the demands derived from sanitary measures, the needs of economic activity and the inescapable respect of the liberties and rights of citizenship.
The action of the Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function is oriented in several directions: increase public confidence in the public and contribute to improve the functioning of public administrations, to enforce the rights of people and improve their living conditions . Of the many lessons that this pandemic is giving us, is the value of the public, of institutions and, especially, of public employees who, in difficult situations, are doing their best
Carolina Darias has also emphasized the need to promote the development of our autonomous State, so that territorial cooperation becomes the best instrument to promote social cohesion. As he did in his intervention on April 30 in the General Commission of Autonomous Communities of the Senate, recalled that "our autonomous State, during this difficult time, has well withstood the stress test to which we have subjected it to save lives. And so have the General State Administration, as well as each and every one of the administrations regional and local ".
"I deeply believe in the capacity of institutions to improve people's lives and especially in the power that deliberative democracy has to achieve that, from different perspectives, actions that contribute to collective well-being can be defined. The painful experience lived during this pandemic It has reaffirmed me in that personal conviction, "concluded the minister.