Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants


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Ezine - October 2015

(14 Oct 2015)

Ezine - October 2015

Open PO Competition

As members are aware PAS on behalf of DPER ran an open PO competition earlier this year. A panel is now in place. DPER proposed that all vacancies at PO level would be from the Open Competition. This proposal was not acceptable to the Association and it was referred by the Association to the Civil Service Arbitration Board. The Board ruled that the sequence of promotion to Principal Officer should be 1/3 from internal departmental panels and 2/3 from the open panel.

Following on from that ruling the Association wrote and subsequently met with DPER officials to discuss a number of issues around the filling of the posts in relation as to when the panel becomes live, duration of panel, the sequencing of internal v open posts, posts on redeployment panel, matching skills with requirements.

The Association’s view was:

  • That the panel should be from the date of appointment of the first person on the panel and not from a date that was been hinted at i.e. 1 January 2015 or even earlier.
  • That the first filling in any department should be from the internal panel and the next two from the open panel. This has always been the practice in the past.
  • We required confirmation in relation to the duration of this panel.
  • That any fillings from the redeployment panel/PO Mobility programme would be considered as from the open panel in the context of the sequencing of posts.

The recent letter from the Secretary General DPER to the Secretary Generals of other departments indicated that the new sequencing arrangements would be effective from 7 July 2015 the date of the arbitration board finding and that liabilities to panels will be from that date. The letter also indicated that “the sequence for PO promotions will be 2 from the open competition followed by 1 internal followed by 2 from the open panel”

This sequencing arrangement is not acceptable to the Association and DPER have been informed that if it is not reviewed that the Association will refer the sequencing to third party.

Flexi Pilot Scheme

A commitment was originally given by Management on the fringes of the Lansdowne Road Talks to allow dialogue to take place on the subject between DPER and the Staff side and this has now successfully concluded.

The Staff Side has agreed with DPER that the pilot scheme to reinstate the option to work up 1.5 days flexi time credit, subject to a max of 13 days in any one year, will operate from the November flexi period onwards.

The operation of the scheme will then be reviewed after six months and a decision made on its permanent introduction that will be based on adherence to the 13 day clause. This was welcomed by the Staff Side as a progressive development that is very important in the context of a family friendly environment and the wider opportunity for staff to manage personal time.

Disciplinary Code Technical Work Group

The Association has participated in a number of workshops held between DPER and the Civil Service Unions on proposed changes to the Disciplinary Code and the tackling of underperformance. Some of the discussions have been very involved and the Union Side has a number of concerns that continue to be addressed. The Association is unhappy with aspects of the proposals that will have to be changed before we can sign off on any revised Code but we continue to fully participate in the discussions.   


As you are aware our members voted against the Lansdowne Road proposals by a wide margin of 87% to 13%. We have noted that the Minister has accepted the aggregate vote of the Public Service Committee as the majority of unions accepted the proposals. Our position on pay, that we have made well known at meetings with the Minister, with the political parties, at our branch AGMs and our ADC is that that we favour an independent wage evaluation mechanism. The Minister has stated he supports this as does some of the opposition parties.

We have independent evidence that our wage levels have fallen 20% below the private sector for an Assistant Principal Officer and 30% for Principal Officers. Our net pay is at 2002 levels and our last pay increase was in 2008. We will continue to seek this independent mechanism while awaiting the restoration of the third pay-cut in April 2017 and Jan 2018 for those in excess of €65k as imposed by Haddington Road. We view an independent wage evaluation mechanism as one of our central objectives that would immediately address issues like this second €1k given the wide gap now in existence with the private sector. The low number of applications for the recent Open PO Competition is also indicative of this gap as it attracted minimum interest from the private sector. The Executive Committee will continue to prioritise the matter of members’ pay.



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Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants