Managing Underperformance

The Civil Service has a crucial role to play on behalf of the public.  Delivering our mission –

  • to offer objective and evidence-informed advice to Government and deliver Government objectives while striving to achieve optimal outcomes in the long-term national interest, and
  • to serve citizens and stakeholders efficiently, equally and with respect, in a system that is open, transparent and accountable –

requires a high performing workforce.

To achieve this mission, all civil servants must be able to fulfil their potential, operate at the highest levels of performance and achieve their objectives. To get the best from our workforce, effective management of performance, in addition to career-long investment in Learning and Development supports, is crucial.

To manage performance well, line managers must be enabled to support and develop staff from different starting levels of performance to higher performance across their team. This means being able to support high performers to reach their potential, satisfactory performers to continue to develop and broaden their skill set and weaker performers to improve.  To do this, line managers need to have the right tools and policies to support them.  In developing high performance teams, managers also need to be able to deal effectively with poor performance.  To assist with the effective management of poor performance, or underperformance, a new Managing Underperformance Policy, Circular 24/2016, has been introduced with effect from the 1 January 2017.

In summary the new Policy provides for: 

  • Addressing the issues through informal procedures in the first instance i.e. PMDS
  • Initiating formal procedures with a performance review meeting where informal measures have not worked
  • Commencement of a Performance Improvement Plan
  • Holding a first progress meeting
  • Holding progress meetings 2 – 5 where:
  1. performance improves to a sufficient level and so ultimately the PIP is ended; or
  2. there is a lack of improvement which can result in a warning(s) being issued in a progressive manner.

In cases where warnings are issued, the full protections of the Disciplinary Code are offered to civil servants.

  • At the conclusion of a PIP, if performance is not satisfactory, a disciplinary meeting, in accordance with the Disciplinary Code, will be held where disciplinary action up to and including dismissal can be taken.