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Prime Minister’s office: salary increase, more directors, unsupervised covid fund

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Expenses more than doubled in seven years, employment tripled, salaries four times higher than the minimum wage, improper management of the COVID-19 Prevention Fund. Such a picture of the functioning of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister emerges from the documents of the Supreme Audit Office.

annual “An analysis of the implementation of the state budget and monetary policy assumptions in 2022 and an opinion on the discharge for the Council of Ministers” The Supreme Audit Office sent it to the Sejm on June 7. She negatively assessed “the directions of changes in the public finance system, as a result of which the state’s financial economy is largely conducted outside the state budget and disregarding the rigors appropriate for this budget”. The annexes to the analysis describe in detail how individual ministries and central institutions managed budget funds in 2022. We have reviewed the appendix “Implementation of the state budget in 2022, part 16 – Chancellery of the Prime Minister” regarding the results of the audit of the budget implementation of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and we compared the data provided there with the results of the audit from 2015-2021.

2015-2022: more than 100% increase in the number of directors

IN Konkret24 we describedthat under the rule of the United Right, the prime minister’s office became a superministry. New organizational units were created in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister; issues related to contacts with the European Union were transferred from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister’s office; the issues of the Polish community and Poles living abroad were taken over from the Senate; for two years, the digitization division operated within the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (after the liquidation of this ministry, the minister of digitization was Prime Minister Morawiecki); the number of entities supervised by the prime minister also increased. As experts commented, this is contrary to the goals and tasks imposed on the Chancellery of the Prime Minister by the Act on the Council of Ministers – according to it, the office is responsible for the day-to-day service of the Prime Minister and the government.

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To some extent, representatives of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister agree with the experts. Undersecretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister Jerzy Wenderlich in response to a parliamentary question of March 7, 2022 wrote that “in recent years, the scale of tasks performed within the Chancellery of the Prime Minister has definitely increased”.

In the same reply, Deputy Minister Wenderlich provided the number of employees in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. At the end of 2015 – a month and a half after the government of the United Right took power – there were them 553including 38 directors and their deputies. At that time, there was one director or deputy for every 14 employees. However, in 2021, there were already employees at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister 1331 people, including 116 directors and their deputies. There was one director or deputy for every nine employees. We asked the Government Information Center for data for 2022, until the publication of this text, we have not received a response.

Salary increase year-on-year: from 6 to 21 percent.

The analysis of NIK information shows that in 2022 the average monthly remuneration of officials in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister amounted to PLN 11,737.70 gross and increased by 6.2% compared to 2021. So it was almost four times higher than the minimum wage in 2022 (PLN 3,010).

On the other hand, the average salary of employees of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister holding managerial state positions amounted to PLN 19,940.40 gross per month – this gives an increase of as much as 21.2 percent. Every year.

When comparing salaries from 2022 to the beginning of the United Right government, it turns out that the average salary of officials in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister has increased since 2015 by 46 percent (seven years earlier it was PLN 8,018 gross), while persons holding managerial positions – by 41 percent (in 2015: PLN 14,164.30).

Increase in salaries in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister Supreme Chamber of Control

Institutes subordinated to the prime minister: “special allowances and bonuses were unjustifiably allocated and paid”

In the information on 2022, NIK gives examples of irregularities in determining salaries in two institutions subordinate to the Prime Minister and financed from the budget of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister: the Generation Institute and the Institute of War Losses. Jan Karski.

And so: at the Generations Institute from May 12 to September 30, the gross monthly salary of seven employees ranged from PLN 5,000 to PLN 5,000. PLN for part-time work up to PLN 16,000 PLN for a full-time job – while according to financial regulations it should range from PLN 2.2 to 5.5 thousand. zloty. The director of the institute awarded his two deputies and the chief accountant additional remuneration of PLN 17,000 each. PLN, although the scope of their responsibilities has not increased. As NIK auditors wrote: “unjustifiably allocated and paid in the amount of PLN 215.5 thousand PLN special allowances and statutory bonuses for employees of the Institute, despite the failure to meet the conditions justifying their granting“.

At the Institute of War Losses named after Jan Karski, as many as 36 cases of payment of incorrect amounts of remuneration for the period from June to October were found (based on incorrectly prepared payrolls). “In nine cases, wages were paid that were lower by PLN 26.3 thousand, and in 27 – overstated by PLN 46.7 thousand” – writes NIK.

The directors of both institutes received a negative assessment from the Supreme Audit Office for their financial management.

Expenditures on the basic activity of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister are growing independently of additional funds

The organizational structure of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, which swells from year to year, generates more and more costs. In 2015, the total expenses of the Prime Minister’s Office amounted to PLN 146.8 million. From 2016, they grew from 154.5 million to 342.5 million in 2018; in 2019 there was a slight decrease – to PLN 335.2 million.

However, comparing the expenses of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister during the rule of the United Right is difficult because in the years 2020-2022, several billion zlotys were transferred to the budget of the Chancellery to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister’s office transfers this money to the account of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, which manages the COVID-19 Prevention Fund supervised by the Prime Minister. Therefore, the NIK adds these amounts to the total expenses of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. Thus, in 2020, the realized expenses of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister reached PLN 11.2 billion; a year later PLN 15.1 billion, and in 2022 – PLN 16.4 billion. The increase in spending in 2022 was caused – according to the Supreme Audit Office – by the triple funding of the Aid Fund for Ukrainian citizens established after Russia’s armed attack on Ukraine and the influx of war refugees to Poland.

Total expenses of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister Supreme Chamber of Control

Among other things, it is the covid fund and the fund to help Ukrainians that the Government Information Center uses in its messages to reject criticism about the increasing expenses of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. “Comparing the current employment and operating costs of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister with previous years is incorrect and inappropriate,” it was written, e.g. in the announcement of June 20, 2023. And Deputy Finance Minister Sebastian Skuza said on December 13, 2022 in the Sejm that “comparability (of Chancellery of the Prime Minister – ed.) could only take place after eliminating significant amounts, but they are caused by systemic solutions”.

So we did as Deputy Minister Skuza suggested: we only compared expenses on current activity, which does not include additional tasks, financing various councils or institutions (although it includes salaries of additional employees to handle new tasks). In budget reports, these expenses are recorded in the chapter “Offices of the chief and central government administration bodies”. These are the operating costs of the office itself: salaries, business trips, purchase of materials, investment expenses, etc.

During the eight years of the PO-PSL government, these expenses of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister did not exceed PLN 100 million a year, in 2015 they amounted to PLN 99.8 million. After the United Right took power, the costs of the current activities of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister increased significantly – to almost PLN 172 million in 2019. In 2020, they were lower – PLN 161 million, but in 2021 they amounted to PLN 207.3 million. In 2022 it was even more – PLN 226.7 million. In the 2023 budget, more than PLN 303 million.

Expenditure on the activities of the Chancellery of the Prime MinisterSupreme Chamber of Control

Thus, compared to 2015, the expenditure of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister on statutory activities was more than twice as high after seven years.

Negative assessment for Prime Minister Morawiecki for managing the covid fund

The implementation of the budget in the part provided for the Chancellery of the Prime Minister was assessed by the NIK auditors according to the rating scale: positive or positive with irregularities, descriptive, negative. “Due to the specificity or complexity of the audited area, neither a positive, nor a negative, or a positive evaluation with irregularities can be precisely applied. In such a case, NIK applies a descriptive evaluation. Such a descriptive evaluation is used in the audit of state budget implementation” – explained in the study “The Supreme Chamber of Control and legal aspects of the functioning of state control”.

The Chamber gave the law firm a descriptive assessment for the implementation of the budget of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki received a negative assessment from the NIK. The Chamber “negatively assessed the management of the COVID-19 Counteracting Fund (FPC) by the Prime Minister, as well as the activities undertaken in this regard by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister in the period from April 2020 to June 2022.” – it was written in the analysis of the implementation of the state budget.

The report of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego for 2022 shows that the expenditure of the COVID-19 Prevention Fund amounted to over PLN 43.2 billion. NIK accused the Prime Minister of, among others, that: – he did not regulate the principles of planning and managing the fund’s resources and did not organize effective supervision over the fund; – did not issue detailed guidelines for administrators regarding the work schedule, their role in the process, administrators’ obligations and the detail of information provided in order to develop the draft financial plan of the fund; – did not post the financial plans of the COVID-19 Prevention Fund and reports on their implementation on the law firm’s website.

NIK found that the process of examining applications for co-financing from the Covid Fund for investments under the Government Local Investment Fund and the Government Fund of Polish Order: Program of Strategic Investments “was non-transparent and inconsistent with the principle of transparency of public finances”. According to the chamber, the commissions appointed by the prime minister to evaluate these applications “operated on the basis of general, imprecise rules”.

Main photo source: the Prime Minister’s Office



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