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Civil service performance scheme – pay rises for all

Read more about: Blogging, Economy, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour Party     Print This Post

Where is the radical reform in the civil service ? Sunday Times figures show that almost every civil servant in the country has received a pay increase. The Government seemed happy to let the civil servants write the budget and now we find that the oversight process for employees in the civil service, the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) has standards so low that in essence the civil servants are writing their own pay rises. According to the Department of Finance, the pay bill for 2008 will be €2.1 billion up 6.7% from 2007 (€1.9 billion). This sparks the questions about pay freezes, reform, and job security of civil servants. Its worse in the wider public sector where the average wage increase is around 8.9% or so and adds €1.5 billion to the wage bill per year.

Mark Tighe in the Sunday Times (26/10/2008) had reported a number of shock findings in the PMDS scheme for performance rating of civil servants. It seems that if you turn up to work and sleep at your desk for the day, you’ll still get your raise while you work in the Irish civil service. It seems that those who word hard in the civil service are being hampered and the top quality of these hard workers are not being rewarded in relation to their colleagues. Whether it is a failing of training or for management needs to be discovered because this kind of carry on would last less than five minutes in any Multinational in this country so why should it be allowed to fester in our civil service ? 

Tighe got the view of Union leader’s such as Tom Geraghty who claim the scheme has improved performance but does not his surprise that were not more people in the poor performance categories as “Everyone things they are a swan but there are bound to be a few ducks”. He further conceded that management had to motivate people and that “telling them that they are useless isn’t a great way of doing that”.

The figures released to Tighe show the soft reality of the civil service. These are especially harsh when compared with the civil service-wide PMDS evaluation ( PDF ) by Mercer Human Resource Consulting which was completed in May 2004. The suggested figures for percentages in levels are vastly different, perhaps Mercer was thinking along the lines of the private sector where only true performance and merit is rewarded. The consultants report further noted that the PMDS system itself was weak at distinguishing between the different performance levels, in highlighting which staff performed well and in handling those “few ducks” who underperformed. The figures shown below highlight how the civil service is over egging the pot (on the left) by being top heavy  in the 3, 4, and 5 categories. The consultants report (on the right) showed a more private sector view with correspondingly lower numbers in the higher categories and a vast increase in comparison to the underachieving categories.

Sunday Times versus Mercer Human Resource Consulting PMDS figures

The most telling problem with this system is that the consultants found that it was not linked to decisions on promotions, pay increases, or career development. Senator Alan Kelly of Labour has recently (8th October, 2008) voiced further concerns about PMDS as it currently only being applied to the lower grades of the civil service and that its implementation in the senior manager grades has left a lot to be desired.

Even a bad scheme like PMDS is better than no scheme. Local Authority workers (~35,000) and Health Service Executive staff (~111,000) are not yet in such a ranked/rated scheme. In the case of the Local Authority, they are considering it and in the HSE they have one but it doesn’t use any kind of ranking or rating. It really is no surprise that the HSE has a bad record for its management not knowing who is currently employed but without ranking for staff, one wonders how the staff get assessed with any due consideration.

Mark Tighe has a second Sunday Times article point out that 74.2% of all public-sector workers earned more than €40,000, further break downs show that even in the higher pay categories the public sector employees are still ahead of the average private sector counterpart. Two examples, between €50,000 to €100,000 its 29.1% of public sector workers to just 13.1% of private sector worker and above €100,000 its 2.5% public sector to 1.9% private sector. These figures are basic figures and do not include any additional loading for job security or the guarantee of a pension for public sector employees. 

Tighe spoke to Jim Power, chief economist with Friends First who pointed out the reality that “in the private sector thousands of workers are being let go and salaries are being cut by 10% to 20% in some companies. It is clear the public-sector unions believe the adjustment in the economy must be borne entirely by the private sector”. Brian Lenihan has stated a reform of this area will be “messy and unpleasant” so instead he’s waiting for a task force to deal with the problem instead. I think I’d prefer the approach of Richard Bruton to sorting out the mess because regardless of politics, he at least seems to understand the problems (overview of reform approach, Reform through Recovery response to Budget).

An annual increase of €1.5 billion in the national public sector pay bill or €100 million for the over 70′s medical card, hhmmm I think I know which problem I’d be tackling if I was in government. There was an elephant in the room for this budget, it was and still is public sector reform. Tackling this one issue would provide all the funds to provide universality for health care and education and they’d still be cash for capital development. If only there was some leadership and grasp of reality in the current Government we might cushion the impending hard landing as it stands this is an avalanche gathering speed which will plunge us into a Japanese style recession without prompt and hard calls by the Government.

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19 Responses to “Civil service performance scheme – pay rises for all”

  1. # Comment by EWI Oct 26th, 2008 16:10

    Even a bad scheme like PMDS is better than no scheme. Local Authority workers (~35,000) and Health Service Executive staff (~111,000) are not yet in such a ranked/rated scheme.

    Not true. I have heard that one at least of the larger Local Authorities already are on PMDS.

  2. # Comment by Braz Oct 26th, 2008 17:10

    EWI – I stand corrected, can you provide the details?

    However the gist of reforming or replacing the PMDS means that even if they’re starting on such a scheme its a far way from the reform that is needed in the public sector and in the civil service.

  3. # Comment by EWI Oct 26th, 2008 18:10

    A quick search through the LGMSB website produced this [http://www.lgmsb.ie/?id=6], which indicates (along with PowerPoints) that South Dublin, Cork Co. and Waterford City Councils are certainly all on PMDS. THere are references to it also on the website of Dublin City Council, which (at 6,500 employees) is the country’s largest local authority.

    Also from [http://www.lanpag.ie/upload/documents/Annual%20Report%202005.pdf]:

    “This was a significant year for the development of the
    Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) in
    local government, during which a joint management and union
    advisory and monitoring group (PMAMG) was established to
    oversee the implementation of the PMDS. This was piloted in
    six local authorities in 2004 and the experience gained from
    these pilots provided the basis for a national rollout of the
    PMDS system in 2005.”

    This certainly suggests that all local authorities have been using PMDS since 2005. I cannot, however, easily find any other references on the interweb on the current tally.

    Making a personal observation on PMDS: it appears to be an issue that yes, as you say, who grades the graders? This however, is a p[roblem which we can see with the executive teams of private entities as well (look at the banking swine currently using their bailouts to give themselves healthy bonuses!).

  4. # Comment by Conor McCabe Oct 26th, 2008 22:10

    “If only there was some leadership and grasp of reality in the current Government we might cushion the impending hard landing as it stands this is an avalanche gathering speed which will plunge us into a Japanese style recession without prompt and hard calls by the Government.”

    Nice to know that the international credit crisis and the unregulated derivatives markets have their origins with the Irish civil service. Somebody should tell Wall Street.

    Oh, and that the reprehensible business practises of Ireland’s privately-run banks, that’s also the fault of the Irish civil service.

    The Fianna Fáil tax-breaks, the €24 Billion in buy-to-let mortgages taken out by Irish people in the past five years, all to buy sub-standard houses at vastly inflated prices, also the fault of the Irish civil service.

    The fact that this Fianna Fáil/Green/PD government has agreed to allow the Irish banking system to continue with its essentials UNTOUCHED, meaning that in two years’ time Irish banks will emerge from their FF nappies to face the world with nothing to trade but their own shit – also the fault of the Irish civil service.

    And it’s good to know that if we lacerate Ireland’s public services that somehow that’ll make the world right again.

    Because, you know, it’s important to identify the root of the problem, in order for us to move on.

  5. # Comment by Braz Oct 27th, 2008 01:10

    EWI – I’m glad to hear that there is some recognition and adoption within the local authorities. They’re starting down the path, unfortunately it is a question of who watches the watchers. There doesn’t seem to be any external references being feed back into the PMDS and its criteria seem to be linked to happier Celtic Tiger time economics. There needs to be a reality check on the scheme and how evaluation is done in the public sector to reflect similar realities that are occurring in the private sector.

    Conor – I meant that last piece of as a wider reflection on the sad state of leadership shown by the Government in the last fortnight with regard to the budget. There are many other problems that the Government have yet to address but the core competencies of any Government are the running and provision of services, its simply where the biggest slice of where the budget goes. If its a problem between a house’s foundation or the rafters of a house, I’d stick to fixing the foundation first and then move to the rafters. I agree with your points that there were many other questionable policy decisions by the Government but I think fixing the engine of the car might be a better start than the optional extras. I’d like to point out that I never suggested knives or lacerations but merely a touch of reality be injected into the system just as sometimes a cold shower is just the thing to wake you up in the morning.

  6. # Comment by conor McCabe Oct 27th, 2008 09:10

    Braz, with all due respect, staffing levels in the civil service is not the fundamental problem with the Irish economy that your post makes it out to be. At best, it is a side issue, being touted by private business interests as a way of diverting responsibility away from themselves from the mess we are in (I am not saying that you are part of this Braz, I’m talking about what is happening in the wider media.)

    The subtext for saying the the Irish civil service needs to be culled is that the private sector is naturally more efficient and more capable of providing a better service. There’s a wonderful example of private sector efficiency in the Irish Independent today.

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/councils-wont-run-estates-1510850.html

    I suppose the Irish Independent wants local authorities to clean up the mess of the private sector AFTER the government has sacked 30,000?

    Any chance of any fines against Fianna Fail’s private sector building buddies for fucking up tens of thousands of Irish people’s lives? Any chance of an efficiency drive against the private sector in building, banking, land development? any chance of Fianna Fail sacking itself for its development of a 122 billion mortgage debt onhouses collectively worth at best 50% of that? you think that civil service redunacies are going to fix this, that they would constitute an attack on the fundamental problems facing the Irish economy?

    Braz, again with all due respect, you are seriously missing the bigger picture here.

  7. # Comment by EddieL Oct 27th, 2008 10:10

    A civil servant is a servant of the State. His/her duty is to apply the provisions of the law impartially. He/she has not discretion when it comes to proposing the law or making the law. It is therfore daft to blame civil servants for the current state of the country.
    I would suggest that it is a failure of the trade union movement when so many people believe that civil servants should be reduced to the minimum wage,temporary employment and long hours instead of allowing private industry to get away with the notion that if they cannot afford to provide decent pay and conditions they can reduce people to slavery.

  8. # Comment by Braz Oct 27th, 2008 13:10

    Conor – I agree that its not the only change that needs to be made but taking the HSE as the typically trotted out example. It was created to reduce the number of individual health boards and reduce the numbers of jobs by providing efficiencies where roles overlapped and by centralising efforts. This did not happen, if anything it multiplied out and I do know the Limerick situation from a number of sides both at management levels and at the front line (nurses, etc.). There are swaths in Limerick who according to their own colleagues don’t contribute to the final result.

    On the note of the builders, stick in a lose it or use property tax for the Dublin land banks. Drop the handout to the builders in the last budget or change it to the newer scheme rather than the old one that lets Builders charge whatever they like and the State pays. The mortgage issue is a tricky one to get out of because people went eyes open into the situation. I’m not sure I can offer any solution to the fact that some people will lose their homes. It is sad but the banks should simply not have lent money to a goodly number of people as they were fiddling the books with both credit union loans and the actual mortgage. To answer the point about council housing estate acceptance, that’s been a pain and I’ve gone door to door in a number of elections and had it thrown in my face. At this stage I’d simply go for rates or a straight council tax seeing as we don’t finance our councils properly, how can they be expect to maintain what they’re already maintaining. This is particular true in Limerick where the City Council is half the size it should be and has to cut lots of corners just to make ends meet.

    EddieL: I’m sorry but there are plenty of senior civil servants who do make the law behind closed doors. The teacher, the nurse, the garda might not but you can be sure the mandarin is. I never once implied anything other than a fair wage for a honest day’s work. Its a free market so if they’re good the market will decide the price of their skill set. At the moment, the market is readjusting in the private sector so prior benchmarks given to the civil service are just daft unless they’re linked to changes and productivity. I’m actually a strong supporter of the Union idea, just not the typically Irish Rail type union which seems to go out over the question of training new staff that they’d previously agreed to and also been paid for. It is right that the workers have a voice and an umbrella organisation to defend their rights but that has to be balanced with the wider business realities. If we need to break some eggs to get back to the situation that made us attractive in the early nineties, I’m all for it. There isn’t such a thing as a job for life anymore and that has been my view for years so perhaps it colours my view towards the public sector.

  9. # Comment by EWI Oct 27th, 2008 18:10

    There doesn’t seem to be any external references being feed back into the PMDS and its criteria seem to be linked to happier Celtic Tiger time economics.

    I’m unsure just what you mean by “criteria … linked to happier … economics”. It’s my understanding that PMDS directly linked pay to performance on par with equivalent work in the private sector. I haven’t heard much in the way of private sector executives bringing these “new” economics to bear on their own remuneration, which is something which senior civil sevants can point to as a legitimate defence.

    Its a free market so if they’re good the market will decide the price of their skill set.

    This is not directly blaming you, but I’ve always been touched by the faith being displayed in the ‘market’. Hasn’t the cargo cult that is the Free Market gotten us into these dire straits?

  10. # Comment by Conor McCabe Oct 27th, 2008 21:10

    The HSE isn’t exactly civil service, is it? It’s a body that was set up with the express intention of putting in place th FF and PD’s privitization of health policy. It is a cash cow for vested interests. It should be scrapped, along with co-location.

    The Irish taxpayer is being used to bail out the private banks, bail out the private builders, bail out the private property developers, bail out the private insurance companies – in effect, underwrite a failed, bloated, inefficient, and corrupt, private sector, while at the same time the public sector is supposed to take lectures from the same private sector about the “ineffectiveness” of the Irish civil service! Per capita, one of the smallest public sectors in Europe!

    I just want to point out that it’s the private sector that got us into this mess – a private sector that demanded, and got, deregulation in all the sectors that are at this moment imploding. Our problems are compounded not by the civil service, but by the fact that for the next two years the banks don’t have to change ANY of their failed practices, or sack ANY of their Steve Staunton-esque senior managers and CEOs, beacuse FF has passed legislation that guarantees to use all of our earnings, to save all of theirs.

    and the Sunday Times article? Absolute bollicks. The pay scales are not different in the public sector, the bloody jobs are different. Simply a moronic analysis. Of course, the point is not to analyze, but to divert attention away from the litany of fuck-ups… private sector fuck-ups.

    Braz, you could sack 30,000 civil servants tomorrow, as IBEC wants the government to do, and it wouldn’t make our economy any more boyant. The dead weight in the Irish economy, at this moment in time, is the dead capital sitting in the hundred of thousands of empty housing units across the island, and the billions of dead loans sitting in Irish banks. Until that issue is addressed, we’re going to continue to drown.

  11. # Comment by Conor McCabe Oct 27th, 2008 22:10

    I’d like to echo EWI’s point, Braz. I’m not trying to get at you here. I respect your point about the civil service, but at this moment in time it’s froth on the water. The real problem is the hundreds of billions in dead money sitting in empty concrete from Dingle to Donegal – dead money which is now soaking up government money via the bank deal.

  12. # Comment by John Browne Oct 28th, 2008 11:10

    I agree with Conor and EWI. It’s not the public sectors fault that the economy is fucked, why should they be the ones to take a hit. They deserve all the money they can hang on to and their jobs for life and guaranteed pensions. Fair play to them.
    Although saying that, the economic situation isn’t my fault or the fault of my colleagues that have been laid off any more than it’s the public sector workers fault. The public sector workers and by that Conor I’m including yourself the HSE, civil service, councils etc better wake up to the reality of the situation. You may have gotten away with this budget but the government is running out of money fast and like it or not the public sector has to be on the hit list. The revolution is coming and it won’t be pretty.

    I still have my job for now but my anual review is coming up and my expected increase is at least minus 5%. I hope all those public servents enjoy their 3.5%. It’s the last increase they’ll get for a ling time.

  13. # Comment by Tomaltach Oct 28th, 2008 12:10

    Broadly speaking I would agree with Conor – the cause of the current Irish economic crisis (leaving aside the international dimension) lies not in the civil service or the public service. It lies mainly at the door of government for making policy that was not just wrongheaded, but clearly corrupt in the sense of how the cosy relationship between construction, FF, and the banks made a chronic imbalance unavoidable.

    The other truism is that during the Celtic tiger two observations can be made – one is that the benefits flowed to Irish citizens in a chronically skewed manner, with the top 5 or 10 per cent of wealthy people making huge leaps in their wealth (5% own about 40% of wealth), but second is that the lawmakers created vast incentives, not to innovate, to do research, to promote indigenous industry, but instead to build houses! Even when it was clear that we were in a dangerous and unsustainable bubble, incentives were maintained and more air was blown into the bubble.

    Having said all of that, we are now in a situation where the public finances are on a terrible and possibly catastrophic path. And I think it is valid to ask, can the public finances be rebalanced with tax raises alone or is there no option but to cut spending?

    The tax part of the equation is clear enough – there was huge scope for innovative and progressive tax collection but the government focused mainly on regressive measures that affect more vulnerable people. And I hope that the gov continue to get huge flak for this and are forced to either re-write major chunks or to leave office. (What hope?)

    But I am convinced that raising taxes alone will not be enough and that some cuts will be necessary. That does not mean I think our public sector was the ’cause’ of the crisis, nor that it is bloated (I think it is well understood now that our public sector as a % of GDP is small by OECD standards, even correction for the fact that we have nearly no defence spending). No it’s not bloated, it was not the cause. Yet after 10 years of poor government, with poor oversight of anything, it is hard to believe that there are not many agencies say, or parts thereof which are not carrying out activities that are socially or economically justified. And I think it is fair to say the HSE is in terrible shape. (Insiders have commented that it’s impossible to say what whole layers of managers are doing and who they report to). But it is easy to point the finger. Finding real pockets of inefficiency would take time and be far from trivial.

    But I think another comment is fair. Given the increases through Benchmarking etc, and the broad acceptance that public servants are now pretty well paid, is it not fair to ask them if they are prepared to shoulder some part of the burden in getting the finances out of a state of possible collapse? Those in the private sector — who, like their public service counterparts, had no part in the cause of the downturn – are already paying the price. I am one of those whose pay was cut to zero – last month I was laid off. Tens of thousands more are in a similar position. Not to mention those who will end up getting pay freezes, pay cuts, or have to move to worse jobs. In this context, is it fair that the public sector should not have to share some of the pain? (as I mentioned – on tax, the rich should certainly be squeezed as far as possible but that doesn’t remove the necessity of this question)

    If it is the case that the finances require significant cuts, then it seems to me that only small savings can be made unless the two big areas are affected: health and education. And in these areas salaries make up about 85% of the current spend. So either people are laid off (undesireable) or pay scales are temporarily frozen.

    If there is a viable alternative that is fair, I want to hear it, and I’d likely support it. For I happen to believe in having a sound public service that is well funded and well managed.

  14. # Comment by Conor McCabe Oct 28th, 2008 22:10

    John Browne, you missed my point completely. And that’s quite an achievement, as it wasn’t that complicated in the first place. So, let me try to put it even simpler than before.

    The faultlines in the Irish economy do not lie with the Irish civil service. The idea that a cull of civil servants is going to make the economy in any way better is fantasy. All it means is more people unemployed, and more pressure on public services.

    The Irish government needs to tax Irish wealth (not just income), and borrow, beacuse that’s what you do in a recession. It needs to INCREASE public spending on infastructure projects, and INCREASE spending on public services (such as child-minding and education) – both of which Qualify as INVESTMENTS IN THE FUTURE. It needs to look towards lowering the costs of living, that’s where the focus should be, as that takes pressure off businesses via wages.

    It needs to flush out the dead investments in the Irish economy, speed up the property correction (instead of propping it up), making mortgages not only affordable but realistic again.

    The LAST thing you do is what Herbert Hoover did in the 1930s, for example,where you TAKE WORKING MONEY OUT OF CIRCULATION.

    But, Fianna Fáil economic policy at the moment is not about getting the economy working again, per se, but about protecting those at the top.

    According to Prof John Crown, we could have a genuinely public system for not much more than what is being paid now. However, that would mean scrapping co-location and the HSE.

    So, for roughly the same amount of money now, we could have a genuinely working public health care system, which in itself would take significant pressure off each citizen’s living expenses.

    None of this matters to Fianna Fáil, or indeed the Greens. Or, indeed, the wonderful geniuses in the Sunday Times. They’re all about self-interest at this moment, and amazingly, people are actually buying into it – that economic policies designed to protect the top 5% in this country are somehow the best policies to pursue at this moment in time.

    I don’t know. Attacking public services during a recession is economic madness, and that’s an historical fact. And personal bitterness doesn’t change that historical fact.

    The alternative, to tax wealth (not just income), and to flush dead investments in property into the real economy, is anathema to those with either, or both.

  15. # Comment by Conor McCabe Oct 28th, 2008 22:10

    By the way john, I’m not a civil servant. I work in private sector education. Spent the last three months signing on (and not getting a penny as I’m still waiting for my claim to be processed), and last week started in a private language school on another temporary contract (3mths). My comments on the Irish civil service are not due to any personal involvement ‘cos I dont have one. They’re based on what, historically, you need to do to guide your country through, and eventually out of, a recession.

  16. # Comment by Dan Sullivan Oct 30th, 2008 21:10

    Conor, I suspect the comment you were responding to were heavily laced with sarcasm but that could be my reading of it.

    Conor, EWI, Tomaltach, I presume you would substantially agree that increases in public spending should be aimed towards increasing the delivery of services and not towards paying individual more to do the same. FF have spent the last decade telling us all about how much more they’ve spent i.e. a shocking amount and not quite so much on how much more service the public are actually getting for it i.e not nearly as much the increase in spending would lead a person to believe.

    Proper public sector reform means make people accountable, creditable and responsible for the work they do. Accountable in that they have to answer to someone up along a chain until ultimately reaching someone who is hired and fire by the electorate i.e. a minister, creditable in that promotions, salary increases, the exciting assignments to Borris are given to those who met their targets (which should be agreed with people outside their department) and responsible in that if you are crap at your job you get fired i.e the civil servants who advised Cullen of sign off on the e-voting contract while the Dail was still debating it and issues were still coming to light (this has nothing to do with the actual merits of e-voting but has to do with the idea of a minister being pressured by his own civil servants into signing a bad deal from a commercial viewpoint). Those individuals should not working at the taxpayers expense anymore. If you teach in a deprived school and you succeed in increasing the performance of your students you should be paid more and if you teach in Clongowes and none of your students gets into 3rd level you should be fired. Thing is in the Clongowes case you would be let go, the problem in the state sector is good or bad you’ll still collect your pay check.

    And this situation was not caused by the meltdown in the global financial system and it shouldn’t have needed that to happen for it to be addressed. The reason it’s a topic now,is we can’t afford any longer to do nothing.

  17. # Comment by Vincent Nov 3rd, 2008 14:11

    I agree with Braz on this one, the civil service has to be cut back, not in numbers but in costs. The civil service have always been trying to link themselves to the pay structure in the private sector. Since almost every business in the private sector is taking a cut then the civil service should follow. At a minimum pay freeze is due, or a pay cut for those earning above 40,000, which is above the average industrial wage.

    Its irrelevant what caused the current situation, fact is we cant afford the public service as it is. We have invested a lot of money in the civil service but there hasn’t been a corresponding improvement in service ,but they consistently award themselves pay increases.

    I also agree with Conors point about investing in infrastructure, now is the time to invest these savings in education, roads etc. and not in someones salary. In times like these if you give someone extra money people will tend to save and not go on a spending spree. So it wont improve anything

  18. # Comment by EWI Nov 4th, 2008 20:11

    Conor, EWI, Tomaltach, I presume you would substantially agree that increases in public spending should be aimed towards increasing the delivery of services and not towards paying individual more to do the same.

    I entirely agree. However, the substantial pay increases for public servants of the past number of years have been *explicitly* done in pursuit of paying the same money for the same work that the magical voodoo powers of The Market(tm) was telling us that work was worth. That free-market economics are a fairy-tale cannot be laid at the feet of the public service.

    FF have spent the last decade telling us all about how much more they’ve spent i.e. a shocking amount and not quite so much on how much more service the public are actually getting for it i.e not nearly as much the increase in spending would lead a person to believe.

    Yes, and where did most of it go? Harney’s frankenstein creation, the HSE. Where are the free market wunderkinds now, when the bill’s come due?

    Proper public sector reform means make people accountable, creditable and responsible for the work they do. Accountable in that they have to answer to someone up along a chain until ultimately reaching someone who is hired and fire by the electorate i.e. a minister

    Now, you and I are both old hands at the game that is politics (I grew up with it in FF, and I suspect you did too in FG), so let’s agree to set aside without further mention the charming notion that the electorate really elects ministers (or even TDs).

    If you teach in a deprived school and you succeed in increasing the performance of your students you should be paid more and if you teach in Clongowes and none of your students gets into 3rd level you should be fired. Thing is in the Clongowes case you would be let go, the problem in the state sector is good or bad you’ll still collect your pay check.

    I strongly suspect that the ‘Clongowes’ model isn’t quite so clear cut. (Perhaps some beneficiaries of an elitist Catholic private education would care to weigh in). It’s my observation that the difference between private and public sector occurs in the top managerial level – and not in their relative worth, but in their roles. Private sector is about efficiency (squeezing out the last cent) whereas public sector is – or should be – about effectiveness (delivering a srvice as fully as possible). These are two very different goals.

    And this situation was not caused by the meltdown in the global financial system and it shouldn’t have needed that to happen for it to be addressed.

    I disagree that this has nothing to do with the meltdown after a sustained boom. Given that:

    (i) Increased economic activity in the private sector necessitates a much higher workload for state and semi-state bodies and

    (ii) politicians naturally like to deliver both local pork (in the form of jobs and offices located in constituencies) and sweeteners for the electorate in terms of new services/agencies (it helps fill out the CV at election time).

    - this is one very good reason why there’s currently so much bloat. Blaming it on public servants really isn’t fair. It’s the elite political class (most of whom are on wages and extras the envy of politicians the world over) who made the ultimate decisions here.

  19. # Comment by Eugene Nov 5th, 2008 23:11

    Excellent article. I worked in one public service organisation where PMDS existed, but in name only. In one year I got 8.9% in pay rises (increment + sustaining progress + benchmarking), and had no performance reviews, ever. The organisation was completely overstaffed: half the work of one dept was outsourced, yet none of the staff were redeployed or let go. I could go on.

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