News Irish News

Saturday 20 October 2018

New laws to make it easier to sack civil servants

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he will look at regulations. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said he will look at regulations. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

New laws to make it easier to sack civil servants are to be drawn up, after years of promises.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is to reform the process for disciplinary actions, dismissals and appeals in the civil service.

Fewer than 100 workers were actually dismissed from the civil service between 2008 and 2016.

In 2014, the secretary-general of the Department of Public Expenditure, Robert Watt, admitted the process "under which we can exit people is too burdensome, there's too many steps".

A review of the civil service disciplinary code has found that the process for managing discipline is unnecessarily complex in comparison with requirements under employment law and practice outside the civil service.

"It was determined that in order to streamline the disciplinary decision-making and appeals processes further and to bring civil service practice more in line with external practice, legislative change would be required," a spokesperson for the department said.

"The key provisions of the proposed legislative amendments will contribute to the achievement of this priority by empowering managers to manage their staff effectively rather than having all serious sanctions determined at the very top of an organisation."

It will be at the discretion of the head of each individual organisation where power to dismiss workers is devolved to. For example, a secretary- general may decide to delegate that power to a principal officer in charge of HR in their department.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent show that only 97 civil servants were dismissed in a nine-year period.

The Department of Public Expenditure declined to give the rank or individual reasons for dismissals.

However, they said some cases involved ICT breaches, fraud, inappropriate behaviour, under-performance, failure to adhere to sick leave regulations and general breaches of civil service policies.

These figures do not include terminations of probationary contracts.

While Mr Donohoe has been given the green light from his Cabinet colleagues to draft the new legislation, it is likely to be some time before it is voted on in the Dáil.

The legislation will also provide for a simplification of the appeals procedure to ensure cases are heard more quickly.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News