Civil servant


A public official is a person who, in a paid employment regime, provides his services on a permanent basis to the Public Administration. Thus, the public official obtains his remuneration from the State and is linked through a statutory relationship.

An official is that person who renders his services to the Public Administration. This person has a statutory link with the State, as well as an employment relationship in which the official performs his work, as an employee, for the State itself. Given that the public official performs his functions for the State, it must contribute a remuneration for the group of public employees that he owns.

Although we will see it later, access to any civil service position implies passing a series of tests that are called, at least in Spain, "opposition". Once these tests are passed, and depending on the number of places offered, those who have received the best score in the total calculation of the tests, as well as other qualitative characteristics, will be able to apply for the position and obtain their place.

Types of public official

Within public officials, there is a series of classifications, as well as degrees, which designate the position and rank that each official has within the Public Administration.

That is why, and depending on each country, that officials can be classified into four types:

  • Career civil servant: Those who are linked to a certain Public Administration by statutory relations regulated in Administrative Law. These set the performance of professional services to the Administration on a permanent basis.
  • Acting official: Those who are linked in the same way to a certain Public Administration. However, unlike the career civil servant, he will perform his duties in the event of a vacancy and for a limited period of time, always regulated by current legislation.
  • Labor personnel: Those who provide services to Public Administrations with a formalized employment contract.
  • Temporary staff: Those who only perform expressly qualified functions, as well as special advice or other functions. These are not permanent, since they only perform specific functions for the Administration.

In turn, the career civil servant, within the same category, is classified into three groups:

  • Group A: This is divided into two subgroups: A1 and A2. To access this group, it is necessary to be in possession of a university degree accredited by a university.
  • Group B: A group of lower category than A. To access this group, the opponent is required to be in possession of a title of Superior Technician.
  • Group C: A group that, as in A, is divided into two subgroups: C1 and C2. Depending on the group, for C1 it is required that the opponent be in possession of a bachelor's or intermediate technical degree. While, for group C2, the opponent is required to be in possession of the graduate in compulsory secondary education.

This classification of the civil service corresponds to the current regulations of the Government of Spain. These denominations may vary, depending on each country. As well as the groups that establish the rank of the civil service, or the selection processes.

How to become a public official?

To access a public official position in Spain, it is necessary to pass a series of selective tests through which the number of vacant positions among the interested applicants could be designated. The number of vacancies is established when the Government launches what is known as a “public employment offer (OEP)”. Through the launch of an OEP, the number of vacant places is established, as well as the test to be carried out to access them.

Depending on the job, the selection systems established by the Government of Spain can be three:

Opposition: Carrying out theoretical tests related to the position. In these, depending on the grade, a ranking is established in which, those with the highest grade, those with the best position in the ranking would obtain their place.

Competition-opposition: Carrying out a series of theoretical tests. However, in these also a contest phase is established. That is, a phase in which another series of criteria are measured, such as the merits accredited by the applicant.

Competition: In this selection system there is no theoretical test to access the position. However, obtaining the place depends on the merits accredited by the interested applicant. That is, those merits that, such as professional experience, count against the point system established by the Administration itself.

Management bodies

Depending on the different types of officials, there are three management bodies that govern the activity of a public official. Three management bodies established by the powers of each of them when assigning vacant positions in the different territories that make up the national territory.

These three management bodies are elected by criteria of trust (general elections) for the performance of the governance of the body of public officials.

The three existing management bodies are:

  • Local: Represented by local administrations (Town Halls).
  • Autonomous: Represented by Autonomous Administrations (Autonomous Government).
  • General: Represented by the Government of the country (National Government).

As with rates, these management bodies, depending on the country to which we refer, may vary.

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