The national shared services office (NSSO) – formerly known as PeoplePoint – has established a steering committee to oversee work on an official survey of civil servants to elicit their experience of the system. Fórsa national secretary Derek Mullen is to represent the union on the body.
The concession came after Fórsa demanded action to quell systemic problems with PeoplePoint. In April, the union’s civil service conference called for a review of the centralised HR shared services system after a union study showed that 83% of civil servants surveyed had experienced problems with it.
Management now wants to conduct its own survey, but it has included the union in the process.
More than half of the 1,079 civil servants who responded to Fórsa’s survey earlier this year said their pay had been affected by problems encountered with PeoplePoint. Another 18% said their sick pay had been affected, and 6% said pension payments had been hit.
The largest single problem encountered was overpayments, which staff must repay (23%), followed by problems with sick leave reconciliation (21%), annual leave (19%), payment of increments (17%), pay adjustments following promotion (13.5%), underpayments (9%), pensions and parental leave (7% each).
Fórsa official Derek Mullen said systemic problems with the system meant staff working in PeoplePoint were in an impossible situation, a sentiment reflected in many of the ten conference motions on the subject submitted by union branches. “That PeoplePoint works at all is down to the dedication of the civil servants employed there. They’ve had an extraordinarily difficult time in recent years as they try to make a poorly designed system function.
“But the problem of overpayments, which has reached epidemic proportions, is causing great suffering to many civil servants, including many in vulnerable financial circumstances, who have to repay money they do not have,” he said. Civil servants who are overpaid have to return the money within a year or less.