Staff costs savings in the Flemish public sector

Dutch speaking chamber on October 11, 2016

During the previous legislature, the Flemish Government imposed a staff reduction by 6.5% within its regional public services and institutions. That percentage was not substantiated: the staff cuts were carried out without any prior analysis of staffing requirements. The Court of Audit noted that the Flemish authorities actually reduced staff numbers, but they used to that end a neutralization technique. Savings on staff costs were mainly linear; however, they did not have the same effects in all entities. According to most entities, these savings increased work-related stress and led to fewer job opportunities for disabled or chronically ill persons. Half of them pointed out that the quality of service had decreased. The current Flemish Government decided to further reduce the number of civil servants and allow the possibility of phasing out lower-priority processes. However, the estimated outflow resulting from this measure is less than half of the imposed staff cuts and could jeopardise the proper performance of the core tasks.