Staff and resources

Recruitment

In 2007, 224 new examiners started with the EPO, a 10 % increase on the previous year, and a further 100 have already been earmarked for 2008. There were 84 new recruitments to permanent and contract posts in the non-examiner area (2006: 117). A pilot project was launched to introduce psychometric testing into the recruitment process, and there were positive results from another project designed to increase recruitment from less-represented countries. Fig. 1

Training

Professional training organised for new and experienced examiners in 2007 involved over 1 000 of the former and 2 500 of the latter taking part in over 500 training sessions. In addition, more than 150 EPC 2000 training sessions were organised and provided to all examiners, and there were around 170 sessions for patent administration staff.

Management career

The management development programme, a modular series of seminars for all levels of management across the EPO, was rolled out during 2007, and training was provided for new, experienced and senior managers. There was special training in communication and negotiation for staff responsible for implementing quality management in the search and examination areas.

During the year, a performance management concept was developed, tested and partly implemented, with principal directors trying out the tool in a pilot project. Performance management as a reporting tool for principal directors entered into force in January 2008, and the performance management concept is due to be extended to directors in the course of the year.

Health policy

Against a background of rising sick-leave figures, the Office introduced a comprehensive health policy whose major aspects include the prevention process, with the emphasis on continuously improving risk analysis and epidemiology, planning and implementing preventive action and reviewing progress, and sick-leave and reintegration management, with the emphasis on bringing staff back to work as early as possible through proactive interaction between staff member, occupational health department and line manager.

Retirement

Following the increase in contributions to the pension scheme, the compulsory retirement age was increased to 68, subject to mutual agreement between the Office and the staff member concerned. The invalidity pension was replaced by an invalidity allowance along the lines of the European Union model.

Buildings

The eighth unit of the PschorrHöfe complex in Munich, providing a further 720 workplaces, was officially handed over to the EPO on schedule in December, with the contractually agreed quality and within budget. Renovation is required at headquarters in Munich under asbestos removal regulations, and urgent technical improvements will be made at the same time. The preliminary design phase was completed on schedule in December, and work is currently expected to start in autumn 2008 and end in late 2010.

Fig. 2 Analysis of staff in post on 31 December 2007 by grade & nationality
Fig. 3 Analysis of staff in post on 31 December 2007 by place of employment and grade
Fig. 4 Examiners (on 31 December 2007)

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