On 11 April 2018 the Government approved the drafting of the Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2018 to amend the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956-2005 and the Public Service Management Act 1997.
The key objectives of the Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2018 are to:
- Give full effect to the legislative intent behind the Public Service Management Act 1997, i.e. to devolve responsibility for disciplinary matters below the level of Secretary General/Head of Scheduled Office.
- Allow for the function of dismissal to be assigned below the head of the organisation.
- Enable the introduction of a binding internal appeal for civil servants.
- Facilitate a two-stage appeals process for the most serious disciplinary sanctions, i.e. an internal and external appeal.
- Reduce delays related to the current structure of disciplinary and appeals processes.
- Bring the civil service disciplinary and appeals process in line with external practice.
- Empower civil service managers to manage their staff effectively by providing access to a fuller range of discipline management tools.
- Allow for more flexibility in the management and reform of the civil service disciplinary process and related appeals process.
These changes would also contribute to the realisation of action 11.3 of the Civil Service Renewal Plan which outlines a commitment to “strengthen the disciplinary code to enable managers to take more effective and decisive action as required to tackle underperformance, including exits.” Furthermore, one of the strategic priorities of the People Strategy for the Civil Service 2017-2020 is that we “Build, Support and Value Managers as People Developers”. 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.