The Cyprus Academy of Public Administration was established in 1991 on the basis of Council of Ministers Decision no. 35.582/dated 22.5.1991. Its central task has been to contribute to the modernization of the Cyprus civil service, by means of Learning and Development and other related activities.
In the first five years of its life, CAPA moved in two main directions: Firstly, it offered substantial training programmes on management development for senior, middle and junior civil service managers. Second, it introduced the institution of the Departmental Training Officer, whereby one officer in each civil service organization were specially selected and trained to be liaisons between CAPA and its client organisations. In addition, a very important initiative was undertaken during this period, namely a series of events concerned with the introduction of a new and more adequate staff appraisal system.
Between 1996-2001, following a relevant Council of Ministers decision, CAPA shifted emphasis towards training on European Union issues, in order to support the Cyprus government’s major EU-accession effort. The main objectives at the time were, on the one hand, offering to a wide range of public officers a comprehensive basic training on EU functions, policies and practices and, on the other hand, developing awareness of the serious implications of EU participation on public service management practices.
While initially CAPA mission covered, by and large, the learning needs of the central public administration (the civil service), in 2001 the Council of Ministers, with its Decision no. 53.330/dated 14.3.2001, extended the CAPA remit, to the wider public service including local government.
Also, in 2001, the bulk of the EU-related training having been completed, CAPA resumed Management Development activities and also started providing broader soft skills training. A major turning point in this respect was the introduction of a system of Decentralized Management of Learning. This policy was launched in October 2001 and focused on the strengthening of public service organizations΄ capacity to manage their own learning effectively and on a systematic basis. The initiative’s vision was, and still is, that every public service organization will have its own Learning Unit, that is, a small team of officers responsible, among their other duties, for managing their organization’s learning, annually carrying out learning needs analyses and organizing learning activities aimed at satisfying the needs diagnosed. Learning Units receive appropriate initial training at CAPA and are supported by CAPA officers on a continuous basis. CAPA, in addition, offers training programmes to organisations, upon request by their Learning Units, on the basis of the latters’ learning needs analysis.
After Cyprus’s EU accession in 2004, CAPA availed itself of opportunities for EU-funded training programmes (Transition Facility, INTERREG, etc ). Beginning in 2005, CAPA staff began to increase, rising to its present number of around 30, including both Training Officers and support staff. This allowed CAPA to extend its activities and to undertake more initiatives.
Most importantly, CAPA, over and above its established range of activities, has been successful in securing substantial EU funding ( from the 2007-2014 Framework Programme) for two new major Projects: One for the development of the strategic, leadership and management capacity of the 2500 highest ranking civil service officers and their organisations, and the other for the leadership and management development of 1500 elected and appointed local government leaders and managers.
In view of the Cyprus EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2012, CAPA, in cooperation with the Greek National Centre of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, offered the necessary training to the different groups of public officers that would be actively involved in that effort. The programmes looked into the strategic, logistical, procedural and practical actions required to successfully manage the Cyprus EU Presidency.
Throughout its 20-year history, CAPA strives to support the Public Service in its efforts to rise to the challenges of our times, in a fastly changing and currently crisis-ridden socio-economic environment. Its aim is and will continue to be to meet the increasing demand for horizontal training and to further develop the system of decentralized management of learning. To achieve its objectives, it makes continuous efforts for internal capacity building, trying to upgrade both the quality of its work and its public image, rendering its services more useful and more visible both to its immediate public service clients, and to society at large.