Civil Service News – Issue No2 December 2015
Welcome to the second edition of CS News which provides up to date information on developments within the Civil Service Division.
Recruitment to IMPACT Grades in the Civil Service
The top priority for the Division in the coming year will be to press line management to make the strongest possible case for fresh recruitment within IMPACT grades. We ask every Branch to consider if a strong case can be made to recruit additional staff to the service. Please contact your Official to discuss. Some progress has already been made as you will see in the Branch Reports section below.
New Disciplinary Code & Underperformance Policy
The CSDEC has approved the new disciplinary code and underperformance policy. Further information on the effective date of implementation of these policies will issue in the New Year. The new disciplinary code allows, for the first time, internal appeals against all written warnings and disciplinary sanctions as well as an independent appeal process. The existing disciplinary appeals board has been retained and clarity has been achieved on how investigations are conducted to ensure that the rights of employee’s are maintained throughout. The underperformance policy sets out how management must address issues of poor work performance over an 8th month period prior to serious disciplinary action being considered. This involves performance improvement plans, regular meetings and the setting of realistic standards of acceptable work performance.
New PMDS Rating Scale
The new 2 point rating scale for PMDS has been agreed by the CSDEC. This will come into effect in 2016 and will be used to assess performance at the end of year review. The rating scale has 2 categories- satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Arrangements for the filling of AP and PO posts in IMPACT grades
IMPACT has now established that the same principles must apply to recruitment exercises at these levels as is the case in General Service grades. Therefore when an AP/equivalent post is filled the competition should be structured on the basis of 1/3 confined to department, 1/3 confined across departments and 1/3 open public competition. At PO equivalent level the competition must consist of 2/3rd open public competition and 1/3 confined. Branches are asked to immediately inform their Official when recruitment at those grades is proposed to we can, if necessary, intervene to ensure the correct provisions are used.
Incremental credit can now be offered to new staff if sanctioned by DPER. It will be necessary for management to demonstrate that they have experienced recruitment and retention difficulties, if this can be demonstrated then incremental credit may be sanctioned. When recruitment is due to take place Branches are asked to contact their Official to discuss if a claim for incremental credit can be processed. Branches should also note the implications of the agreement reached on this issue within the CSSO/Legal Professional Branch outlined below.
Agriculture No1 Branch
The Agriculture No 1 branch has secured the first national recruitment campaign for Technical Agricultural Officers in close to a decade. This follows the declaration of a dispute, a rule 25 industrial action ballot and intensive negotiations facilitated by the WRC. IMPACT expects significant numbers of new staff (200 plus) to be recruited into this key grade over the coming year. Discussions with the DAFM continue in an effort to try and resolve a number of difficult issues.
The FGE branch of IMPACT has secured agreement on new measures to establish 430 members of the branch as officer grade civil servants by confined competition. Subject to members having the standard criteria on service and suitability, they can now apply for establishment having completed one year of service, without interview or formal competition. The measures follow intensive negotiations over the past year between IMPACT’s FGE branch and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). FGE Officers are now also engaged in discussions on ending the use of private sector security and cleaning contracts in a number of different Departments.
Legal Professional branch
IMACT negotiations with the Chief State Solicitors Office secured a better agreement for the confined filling of AP equivalent positions than is the case for General Service grades in that all posts will be filled through confined competition. IMPACT has also secured the opportunity for existing staff to apply for incremental credit alongside new starters. Discussions continue with the DPP’s Office on providing similar opportunities.
Civil Service No 1 Branch
IMPACT has sought commitments from the Department of Defence to recommence regular engagement with the union. New arrangements have been put in place to ensure that all groups of staff can be effectively represented at Garda Civilian Council. The union is consulting management regarding a new overpayments policy. The Branch Committee will discuss the latest Garda Inspectorate report in the New Year to ascertain what fresh recruitment opportunities arise within IMPACT grades following the recommendations to return uniform Garda to front line duties which will require additional civilian staff.
IMPACT has secured commitments from the Family Mediation Service to regularise the employment of over 20 Mediators who will receive contracts of indefinite duration on favourable red circled terms. Mediators will also have the opportunity to become established civil servants with access to the civil service pension scheme. Negotiations continue on the appropriate grading for Regional Co-Ordinators and other senior grades and IMPACT has agreed that these matters will be referred to the WRC for conciliation.
IMPACT is discussing the need for recruitment of Community Service Supervisors and has welcomed the publication of Excellence in Innovation, a joint initiative between the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service which we see as providing further justification for increasing CSS numbers.
Central Statistics Office Branch
Following the end of the moratorium on recruitment the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is in the process of recruiting for a number of new Senior Statistician posts. IMPACT and our CSO Branch committee have been highlighting for some time the inadequate number of Senior Statisticians present. We are presently engaged with management on the appropriate recruitment methodology for these key roles.
National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) Branch
The NEPS Branch AGM has unanimously endorsed “The Way Forward”. This comprehensive 20 page publication provides details of what is required to ensure that a properly resourced school psychological service is in position for all children and young people. The Way Forward was developed by the NEPS branch committee with the assistance and support of IMPACT. The Way Forward will be an important part of a coordinated campaign which will be activated during the first quarter of 2016 with the target of securing more recruitment and resources in the NEPS area.
Primary Inspectors Branch
Coiste na mBunchigirí are working with IMPACT to draft up an acting-up policy, to review the deployment of the promotions panel and to improve the channels of communication and consultation between the Primary Inspectorate and the Department of Education & Science.
Parliamentary Ushers Branch
A dispute regarding rostering involving the IMPACT Parliamentary Ushers has been resolved following a mediated settlement. The agreement was based on recommendations and proposals from joint facilitators Dan Murphy and Dr David o Callaghan which was accepted by Parliamentary Ushers Branch. This agreement protected pay and conditions and created a foundation for a more balanced and fair rostering structure.
Government Valuation Office Professional Branch (GVO)
IMPACT will be meeting with management at the GVO in mid-December to remind them of their responsibilities toward the National agreements when considering introducing significant change in work practices. Proper consultation periods have not been adhered to.
Separately a date is now fixed on 19th January 2016 for both sides to meet under conciliation at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in connection with the on-going dispute around management’s expectation that GVO professional branch members are required to be lead representatives of the Valuation Office at Valuation Tribunal hearings. The issues to resolve include appropriate benefits and the provision of adequate training programmes.
The next issue of CSNEWS will be distributed towards the end of February 2016. If you would like any news from your branch to be included please email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.