Tuesday 16 January 2018

Civil service managers who fail to rate staff will be refused promotion

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

CIVIL service managers who fail to tackle underperforming staff will be punished by being refused promotion.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin plans to impose heavy penalties on senior staff who are not implementing an official system to grade employees' performance.

The proposals follow growing concern that some managers are still not using the system -- 11 years after it was set up -- to rate civil servants' performance. This is despite the fact that the Croke Park agreement, the €85bn bailout deal and the Programme for Government commit to stamp out slack work practices in the public sector and ensure value for taxpayers' money.

It is also understood that public sector union IMPACT has raised concerns with the minister that managers have not been applying performance management to staff at the top of their pay scales.

The Irish Independent has learnt that Mr Howlin has drawn up plans to kickstart the system -- to be discussed with unions later this month -- which promise to single out managers for intense scrutiny.

Those who fail to complete the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) for all staff will be hit with a low performance rating on the five-point scale.

They will only be able to get a maximum score of two, which means their performance needs improvement and they are not eligible to apply for promotion.

"These new sanctions will mean a lot to those in the civil service -- even though, in the current climate, there are not many promotions happening under the recruitment embargo policy," said a source.

"It would also mean that their performance assessments, on file, would show that their performance needs improving -- not something many of them would want."

As well as holding management accountable, the proposals also include plans to simplify PMDS forms and introduce an electronic system.

The Department of Finance said sectors that did not have PMDS or a similar performance management system "will be required to introduce it".

However, it was unable to say where the system had not been introduced and did not have figures on the number of staff who have faced disciplinary action.

It said Mr Howlin was "introducing measures to increase manager accountability".

Irish Independent

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