'Unsustainable' for EIOPA to continue taking on unplanned tasks
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) continued to struggle with a demanding workload last year given limited resources, and experienced another year of high staff turnover, according to the supervisory authority.
In the authority’s annual report for last year, Fausto Parente, executive director at EIOPA, said: “The year 2015 became a real quality check for EIOPA’s management and governance system.”
He noted that EIOPA’s budget was cut by 7.6% last year and said this caused the supervisory authority to carry out a “severe” re-arrangement of priorities, including the “reallocation of human resources and funds”.
This enabled EIOPA to meet the objectives of its work programme for 2015, he said.
The approved budget for last year was €19.95m, a 7.6% reduction from the final 2014 budget of €21.6m, although it was bumped up by some €265,200 in September to take the final 2015 budget to €20.2m.
Some 60% of its budget was allocated to staff expenditure in 2015, 15% to operational expenditure and the remainder to administration.
A new funding model for EIOPA is due to be unveiled this year.
Parente said staff turnover was high last year, at 14%, but that EIOPA managed to increase the number of experts and managers, from 134 in December 2014 to 137 in December last year.
The supervisory authority identified expensive housing in Frankfurt, where it is based, and a “lack of financial attractiveness” compared with other European bodies as making it difficult for it to hire and retain qualified staff.
It said the high turnover rate, unsuccessful recruitment campaigns and “non-acceptance of contract offers by selected candidates” were the main reason why EIOPA failed to achieve the target it had set itself for the number of certain types of staff positions it wanted filled by the end of the year (EIOPA’s ‘Establishment Plan’).
It was close, however, with 95.6% of positions filled (four short of the target).
It met its target for the level of job satisfaction (66%), which is higher than the EU agency average (60%).
EIOPA’s budget and workload has become a contentious issue in recent years, and the authority’s annual report is peppered with references to the amount of work it has and the struggle to deliver on this with the resources made available to it.
Chairman Gabriel Bernardino said the board of supervisors “acknowledges the challenges EIOPA faces in terms of its constrained resources in the face of a demanding workload and welcomes EIOPA efforts to manage this challenging situation”.
In a section on risk management, the annual report says it is “unsustainable” for EIOPA to take on new tasks during the year in addition to those already planned.
An increasing workload without “a commensurate increase in resources” puts at risk being able to meet deadlines and quality criteria, as well as staff motivation and well-being, according to the report.
EIOPA has been taking steps to address these challenges – by strengthening its approach to planning and management of work and revising human resources processes, for example.
Executive director Parente said a 360-degree feedback exercise conducted with all line managers had yielded “insightful results and development at individual, peer and corporate level”.