Public Service Costs - The Elephant in the Room


#2066

One might suggest the competence-value-for-money is much the same :smiley:

-cough- Anglo -cough-


#2067

check your sources :laughing:

KPMG are cleaning up the anglo mess, EY were the auditors


#2068

Gah! I always get those mixed up.

I hope the Carillion team isn’t on that cleanup.


#2069

I agree with the Press focusing on the wrong things re: the PS generally. In my experience all sorts of bonkers stuff is done by those in power in the PS for fear of an outing in the press or worse still the CAG Report/PAC. The papers and the politicians love the CAG Report/PAC charade. If it worked we would be seeing results by now. All that results is the public get outraged and some small guys career gets fucked. However all the effort that goes in to avoiding this shaming takes from delivery of the service and ultimately leads to the next round of scandals. The people who rise to the top are skilled in looking good despite this charade or of directing effort to ensuring they look good. Psychopaths do particularly well in this type of setup and on it goes.


#2070

uk lads

were always liabilities :laughing:


#2071

Confirmed. PS managers are utterly paranoid about small per capita outlays on staff that would make the front page of the Independent.

Ironically enough large sums are often spent on needless external training - often the staff member just needs to be persistent enough to make it happen - but there are no headlines in this.


#2072

Don’t know if this has been touched on before…but I had a fascinating conversation with a Civil Servant friend of a friend on a night out recently.

She told me that around half of her office/section/unit or whatever they’re called, are on a shorter working week or shorter working years. Many are on four day weeks, one is even on a two-day week while others (mainly parents of young children) take “term time” of a few months each year.

Apparently some decide to work shorter weeks as soon as they hit the higher tax bracket through increments and/ or promotions. Presumably, they do the math and decide that by working say one day a week less (20%) they might only lose about 8% net when tax and commuting costs are taken into account. And the beauty of it is - those on four-day weeks can still work up an extra day off through flexi-time - plus they get credit for all public holidays.

I can only imagine that it’s a nightmare for HR and management in trying to cover for such absences - especially for senior staff. (She said several Principal Officers are on shorter working time. Tax wise it’s probably a no-brainer while they still get generous pro-rata annual leave.)


#2073

This is very true, partly a symptom of the age cohort - a lot of people of child rearing age who value the time off and older who may have less outgoings. I met one or two enterprising Clerical Officers who’d arranged their shorter working week to minimise contact with their boss who was also on a shorter working week. A CS manager will always tell you “When in doubt ask” but will be very reluctant to take calls when off the clock.
There’s also “term time” which allows I think two months off, but your reduced salary is paid over 12 months. There is no attempt to match this to workload - for example I worked in a department where most of the workload fell during the summer months - when half the permanent staff would leave on two months holidays to be replaced with temps straight off the street.


#2074

All true, but in my experience the shorter working week is much more prevalent, indeed almost exclusively, among the ‘clerical’ grades. The structure of the civil service needs a radical overhaul; it is still operating as if there are large amounts of paper to be processed daily (whereas in reality significant parts of the CS keep no paper files at all). A much smaller graduate-level service would suffice.


#2075

After nearly 5 years bouncing around the Public Sector I’d nearly say the opposite. Work out the requirement for low level labour, and make a stint in the sector mandatory for all adults. Sort of like national service. The areas that rely on staff essentially dragged off the street for short terms work pretty well, (Census etc). It’s areas that manage to create a mystique about their “highly specialised” activities where the issues arise. Obviously front line staff can’t be sourced like this but there is a huge amount of work done by clerical types across the civil, public and HSE that could be done by people on short term contracts. People with an aptitude could be kept on for the long haul.


#2076

By that, do you mean you were actually employed there, or just waiting on hold for a response to a query? :wink:


#2077

There was a lot of waiting around now that you mention it… :laughing:


#2078

The person I spoke to was a HEO and was on a four-day working week as well as taking term time breaks in the summer. (Incredibly, you can do both at the same time!) She said there were Principal Officers and Assistant Principals also on shorter weeks. (One only does mornings)

Some info here:

hr.per.gov.ie/family-friendly-policies/
*All civil servants, whether established or unestablished including, subject to certain conditions, those on probation may apply to workshare. Staff who opt for worksharing are required to do so for a minimum of twelve months. Each individual’s worksharing arrangements must be formally reviewed on an annual basis.

In general, worksharers enjoy pro-rata arrangements with their full-time colleagues in relation to pay and other conditions of employment.

A person participating in the Worksharing Scheme may take up other paid employment outside the Civil Service, subject to the same conditions that apply to full-time civil servants, but in particular that there must be no conflict of interest, and that the outside employment does not interfere with the proper performance of Civil Service duties.*


#2079

Surely, with tech advances, we are seeing more and more of this. Maybe it should be welcomed, more time for the family and hobbies, less time tied to desks. Or are tech advances only meant to benefit the 1-2% with large shareholding blocks.


#2080

Public Service pushing hard in the past week to improve their offering and increase their output/performance

Civil servants seek increased ‘divorce leave’
Forsa trade union to demand three days’ leave for members separating or divorcing
irishtimes.com/news/ireland … -1.3458459

Civil servants demand shorter working week
independent.ie/irish-news/c … 21698.html


#2081

“A spokesman for the Department said the arrangements for such additional leave went back nearly 30 years and pre-dated the introduction of divorce in Ireland.”

:smiley:


#2082

No increased productivity was sought in any of the areas I worked in relation to the extra time. So all it did was waste light and heat. Most offices are open from 8am to 7pm to facilitate flexitime, so if they knocked 15 mins off each end of the day it could well create savings.


#2083

As I understand it, Civil Servants who are on flexi-time (i.e. those up to HEO level) are required to be on duty for 7 Hours 24 minutes per day (not including lunchtimes). How does that compare with similar roles in other organisations? (e.g. semi-state bodies, banks/ insurance companies etc?) The increased working day was, I think, a part of the original Landsdowne Rd agreement which added about two and a half hours working time per week, along with pay-cuts.)

Edit: I just googled a few organisations. The Central Bank - for example - have a 35.5 hour working week - two hours less than Civil Servants. (Page 3 on link)
centralbank.ie/docs/default … f?sfvrsn=4


#2084

The last of the 2010 pay cuts to all public/civil servants on 65K-150K will be restored tomorrow.

Pay for those 150K+ will be restored 1 July 2022.

https://www.gov.ie/en/circular/5dedb-application-of-1-july-2021-fempi-pay-restoration-for-certain-civil-service-grades-with-basic-salary-of-not-more-than-150000/