Significant numbers of civil service promotions are continuing on all levels following the end of the recruitment moratorium. But Fórsa is still seeking restrictions on management’s use of psychometric testing, particularly for shortlisting.
Speaking to civil service conference delegates in Kilkenny last week, the union’s Head of Division Derek Mullen said he was talking to departments and the Public Appointments Service (PAS) about the various promotion mechanisms in use.
“We want to reach agreement on alternatives to psychometric tests, which are often used to shortlist in large volume competitions. As a union we need to decide what we think is the best alternative. For instance, is selection based on a competency-based application form the best way forward? It’s a mechanism that’s often used in departmental competitions or smaller open competitions,” he said.
The union has also criticised the Government’s failure to provide statistics in relation to the promotion of staff with disabilities. “This will have to be rectified, although we do acknowledge Government’s ongoing commitment to the recruitment of people with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities,” said Derek.
The conference debated a large number of motions about promotions and related matters.
There was also a healthy debate about ongoing problems in HR shared services, where an official survey is expected to get underway shortly. This came on foot of Fórsa’s own survey – published at conference last year – which identified widespread problems in what was then called the ‘PeoplePoint’ system.
It found that over 80% of members had experienced problems with the system.
Derek said there had been some improvement, and that the union was working on the problem with management through a joint steering group.
“Progress is too slow. Shortly we will see a civil service-wide survey to identify the key issues, as far as members are concerned, with a view to developing action plans to alleviate those difficulties. But any delays in this process will inevitably lead us to contemplate further actions to return HR services to line departments,” he said.