Fórsa has responded to comments this week by Robert Watt, secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure (DPER), who said he would like to have the power to “manage out” under-performing civil servants by reaching a financial settlement in order for them to leave their job.
Derek Mullen, the head of Fórsa’s Civil Service division, said management has robust performance management and performance improvement systems in place to address instances of under-performance in individual civil servants.
Derek said the transparency of the performance management system was crucial for civil servants, civil service management and for the taxpayer.
Mr Watt’s comments were reported in the media yesterday (Wednesday).
Derek said Mr Watt’s comments failed to acknowledge the robust systems of performance management that are already at the disposal of management.
“There is a rigorous system already in place, which has been refined and developed in recent years, a system that ensures any under-performance can be identified quickly. There is also a system of performance improvement should that be required.
“These systems are designed to ensure that any civil servant who is under-performing for any reason is given the opportunity and support to restore their own personal performance at work,” he said.
He added: “There are instances of dismissal from time to time when performance isn’t improved in these cases. The system is there to ensure that the qualities and skills for which civil servants were hired in the first place are recognised, and that a fair process applies.
“Civil service management has the necessary tools to manage the performance of staff. Unfortunately, comments like those made by Mr Watt, which was essentially a kite-flying exercise, provoke unnecessary and lazy commentary that willfully ignores the excellence of our civil servants,” he said.