Most civil servants happy with conditions but not promotional access

Only one-fifth say poor performance is effectively addressed in their department

In the Civil Service survey, 66 per cent of senior managers “feel that it often seems like there is too much work for one person to do”.

In the Civil Service survey, 66 per cent of senior managers “feel that it often seems like there is too much work for one person to do”.

 

Nearly two-thirds of staff in the Civil Service are satisfied with the terms and conditions of their employment, however there are significant concerns about access to promotions and how Government departments deal with poor performance, a new survey has found.

Released by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, it says the majority feel confident of their ability to do their job and can cope with the disruption caused by Covid 19 and the resulting changes to the working environment.

However it says just over one-third believe their department or office has a “clear and fair promotion process”.

The report says the findings are very positive overall including that more staff in the Civil Service now feel more positive about the impact of their work than in previous surveys since 2015 . It suggests the widely publicised continuity of service delivery during the pandemic may have contributed to this positive increase.

The survey also indicates that Civil Service personnel continue to feel highly engaged.

Job security

The study finds that 63 per cent of staff overall reported they were satisfied with the terms and conditions of their employment. This represents a 21-point increase since a similar survey was carried out in 2015.The report suggests the rise “may be partly related to the job security provided by the Civil Service during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

However there were significant differences between grades of staff with regard to perception around pay and performance and parity with the private sector.

It says administrative officers (AOs), executive officers (EOs) and clerical officers (COs) “stated that they do not feel that their pay adequately reflects their performance.

“The same grades also feel that their pay is not reasonable compared to those doing a similar job in the private sector (AO 26 per cent, EO 33 per cent and CO 25 per cent respectively).”

Furthermore 66 per cent of senior managers “feel that it often seems like there is too much work for one person to do”. However the report says “this score decreases among the lower grades”.

Fair process

While findings in relation to promotion have improved on those set out in previous surveys “they are still challenging”.

“Only 36 per cent of staff report that their department/office has a clear and fair promotion process. Fewer than half of staff at CO to principal officer level believe that if they perform well they will be promoted. More experienced staff are less satisfied with the promotion process compared to less experienced colleagues.”

Only 20 per cent of staff reported they feel poor performance is being addressed within their organisation.

“Less than half of all staff feel that senior managers are ‘held accountable for achieving results’ (40 per cent) and that their ‘department measures job performance to ensure all staff are achieving results’ (38 per cent ).

“Although this remains a challenging result, only 13 per cent of staff disagree that their department has high performance standards. This has decreased by nine points since 2015.

“There is a significant grade variance evident in this theme. [Some] 44 per cent of senior managers agree that poor performance is effectively addressed throughout their department. This score drops to less than 25 per cent for each of the grades from CO to principal officer with assistant principals’ scores being the lowest at 17 per cent.

“More experienced staff are less satisfied with how poor performance is addressed compared to less experienced colleagues.”