Civil servant ranking system ‘flawed’

The review was carried out for Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin

The system for reviewing civil servants’ prospects of getting pay rises and promotions has been described as flawed by Fine Gael TDs after fewer than 1% of workers received a negative review.

The performance management and development system was last night declared “rubbish” by government TDs. It ranked the majority of civil servants as “exceeding the required standard”.

The system involves a sliding five-point scale used by managers to assess workers. It can then be used to decide on pay rises and promotions. Five is “outstanding, four “exceeds the required standard”, three is “fully acceptable”, two “needs improvement”, and one is “unacceptable”.

A review, carried out for Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin, noted that up to 10% of staff should score unacceptable. Just 0.1% of those assessed in 2012 were “unacceptable” while 0.8% were in need of improvement.

Fine Gael Dublin South East TD Eoghan Murphy said the system was flawed and had been for years.

“A proper scale is needed. The term ‘fully acceptable’ doesn’t tell you anything. It isn’t fit for purpose, it’s rubbish. We may need an external review [group],” said the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee TD.

A spokesman for Mr Howlin said there were plans to change the system of reviewing workers.


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