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Civil service pay rises to be linked with stricter performance reviews

The changes in performance management were announced by Minister Howlin this week.

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CIVIL SERVANTS HAVE been told by their boss, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin, that they will have to perform to a higher standard to ensure they receive pay rises.

Announcing changes to the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS), Howlin revealed that staff will now have to score at least three (out of five) in their reviews in order to qualify for a salary increment. That is one full point higher than previous targets. Last year, only 30 out of 30,000 civil servants were refused increases because of sub-standard performances.

“This is a significant departure from the current way PMDS currently operates where ratings are given to individuals by their managers and there is a little if any review of whether the rating awarded is genuinely justified,” the department said in a statement.

The amendments to the system were agreed with trade unions under the Croke Park deal and Howlin said they will provide managers with a “more effective tool to manage performance”.

The new regime will also see a revised ratings scale with improved descriptions of performance levels, including competency evaluation.

Also as part of the Fairness and Consistency Changes to be introduced next year, grade-based competencies aim to ensure that people who are paid the same salary will be assessed against a common set of behaviours. They will also be expected to reach a similar standard of performance.

The use of performance calibration will lead to managers discussing how to apply similar standards for all employees and helping eliminate any potential bias.

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