The civil service in Poland

The role of the civil service is to guarantee that the state is efficient and effective regardless of the political situation and shifts of governments. This can be ensured by an appropriate staff composed of competent and professional officials, who fulfil their duties reliably and impartially.

Terms and definitions

The legal relationship between the state and the official has its own nature. In the Polish civil service we differentiate three categories of staff:

  1. Civil service employees employed on the basis of employment contract.
  2. Civil servants employed on the basis of nomination (classic bureaucrats with a lifelong tenure). The nominated civil servants as a prioritised group have some additional rights compared to the civil service employees. There are two ways of obtaining this status:
  • taking so called qualification procedure (state exam),
  • graduating from the Lech Kaczyński National School of Public Administration (a governmental school directly subordinated to the Prime Minister).
  1. Persons occupying senior positions employed on the basis of appointment.

Civil service corps is a general term for the legal relationships within civil service. It includes all three categories. 

Organisation and structure of the civil service

Prime Minister
According to the Constitution the superior of the civil service corps is the Prime Minister. However in practice she/he exercises her/his competencies with the support of the Head of Civil service.

Head of Civil Service
The Head of the Civil service (henceforth: HCS) is the  central body competent in civil service issues. The Prime Minister appoints and dismisses the HCS. The office of the HCS is the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (especially: Civil Service Department).

The HCS is responsible for inter alia coordination of the civil service personnel policy, preparing drafts of normative acts, organizing trainings, collecting data on the civil service corps as well as international cooperation.

Civil Service Department is an organizational unit of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, competent in the civil service issues, primarily personnel issues, human resources management and professional development. It provides service to the Head of the Civil Service in carrying out her/his duties and provides organizational and secretarial support to the Public Service Council and the Higher Disciplinary Commission of the Civil Service.

Director General of Office
The top, non-political leader of governmental bodies is the Director General (DG). The DG represents the professional leadership in the civil service system, being the government employer in:

  1. Chancellery of the Prime Minister,
  2. ministries,
  3. central offices,
  4. voivodship offices.

The political leadership (supervision) of the office is the head of the office. The DG is directly responsible before the head of the office and also responsible before the HCS with regard to the tasks resulting from the Civil Service Act.

The main duties of the DGs are to perform activities envisaged under the labour law in relation to persons employed in the office and implementing the staffing policy. They ensure the continuity of the work of an office, conditions for its operation, as well as the proper work organization.

Public Service Council
The Public Service Council is an opinion-giving and advisory body to the Prime Minister. It expresses opinions on i.a.:

  • draft of the budget law in its part dealing with the civil service;
  • drafts of normative acts concerning the civil service;
  • the central training program within the civil service;
  • annual reports of the Head of Civil Service.

The Council shall also disseminate, in cooperation with the Lech Kaczyński National School of Public Administration, the best European standards, practices and experiences with regard to the civil service.

The Council consists of 7-9 members. They serve pro publico bono.

Read more about the Civil Service system in Poland