Friday 26 May 2017

List drawn up of surplus civil servants for 'redeployment'

Civil service overstaffing issues tackled on 'last in, first out' basis

Anne-Marie Walsh

OFFICIALS are drawing up a list of "surplus" civil servants who will be forced to move to other departments if they do not volunteer for new roles.

The Department of Finance is drawing up the list according to new correspondence on the rollout of the Government's extensive redeployment programme.

In it, officials in each department are instructed to estimate its overstaffing levels.

Workers whose jobs are found to be obsolete will be asked to volunteer to move to new positions within their own sector, or to understaffed sections of the wider public service.

If there are not enough volunteers, the Government can force candidates to relocate on a 'last in, first out' basis.

A Department of Finance circular sent to staff outlines the rules governing the scheme that will be used to move workers to "priority" services as departmental functions are merged, axed or restructured, or schemes and programmes wound up.

It will also be used to fill vacancies left due to the ongoing ban on recruitment across the public sector.

Redeployment is likely to be used extensively as the Government has indicated it plans to slash the cost of the public sector by up to €2bn in the Budget.

A recent report commissioned by the Government on the local government sector found savings worth €94m a year could be found by cutting over 2,000 jobs in local authorities, mainly through redeployment.

"In view of the major economic challenges facing the country, the Government is committed to obtaining maximum efficiencies from, and reducing the size of, the public service," says the circular.

Relocated

It says civil servants who are identified for redeployment, which could include those returning from career breaks, can be relocated up to 45km from their current work or home address.

They could be asked to move further if there is an urgent need for their skills.

Redeployment is one of the concessions made by public servants in the Croke Park deal in return for a government guarantee not to slash their pay, or pensions, until 2014.

Staff can be asked to move on a temporary, or long-term, basis. Their pay and pensions will stay the same, although those who lose overtime and allowances will receive compensation.

In the circular, the department's director of the personnel and remuneration division, Patricia Coleman, outlines how the scheme will work.

It says the department will consult with each department to identify "surplus personnel", and then work out the number of employees in the civil service with no role.

Departments must provide detailed information on surplus staff, including their grade, location and home address, to the Public Appointments Service, within a month of a surplus being identified.

Staff will be put on 'resource panels' before being relocated.

Understaffed departments must make a business case to the Department of Finance to secure additional workers.

Successful departments can refuse candidates who have had disciplinary action taken against them, or been on sick leave more than 56 days in the last four years. However, they cannot use these grounds to refuse redeployed staff who are being transferred from an office that is being abolished.

The department said it would review the scheme at a later date and warned that, if necessary, it would "explore further options to eliminate any remaining surplus".

Irish Independent

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