Monday, December 19, 2016

Public Service News from around the world

Trump wants names of climate team

WASHINGTON (December 9): The transition team working for United States President-elected, Donald Trump has asked the Department of Energy for the names of Federal employees who have worked on climate policy, raising fears that they will be the first targeted for sackings by the new Administration.

Over the past eight years, Public Servants at the Department have been working, among other things, on a ‘social cost of carbon’ metric to justify various climate policies. This has been opposed by various right wing groups as can be used to justify robust climate policies.

It is these workers who the transition team specifically want named — a move described by some observers as unprecedented and dangerous.

Democrat Senator, Edward Markey said he had written to the transition team warning that it would be violating the law if it used this information to retaliate against Federal employees. "Civil Servants should never be punished for having executed policies with which a new Administration disagrees," Senator Markey wrote.


Nine tenths of revenue for PS pay

HARARE (December 9): Zimbabwe’s Public Service wage bill is expected to be $US3 billion ($A4 billion) next year, leaving just $US400 million ($A534 million) for everything else.

0Minister for Finance, Patrick Chinamasa said falling revenues and a failure to cut the country’s bloated bureaucracy meant that wages were now costing something close to 90 per cent of all revenues.

Ever hopeful, the Minister said restrictions on hiring, continuous monitoring and audits for flushing out ghost workers, as well as the restructuring of the Public Service, were essential measures for the coming year.

However, President Robert Mugabe has continually overruled him, saying the Public Service, which includes the armed forces, must be maintained at current levels.


Government lets scientists off leash

OTTAWA (December 11): A tentative deal has been reached which will allow Canadian scientists who work for the Government to share their research with the media without first being designated official spokespeople.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) says it has reached the agreement, which will affect more than 18,000 Public Servants. This reverses a ruling by the previous Conservative Government which scientists said muzzled them at the same time as they were subjected to extensive funding cuts.

The union, which represents 55,000 scientists, IT experts, auditors and other Public Servants, made the breakthrough during new contract agreement on behalf of the scientists which includes a five per cent wage increase over four years.

Negotiations are continuing for more than 32,000 other PIPSC members.


Parliaments says no to PS reform

NICOSIA (December 9): The Cypriot Parliament has rejected five of six Government Bills on Public Service reform.

Under Secretary to the President and Reform Commissioner, Constantinos Petrides said he deeply regretted Parliament’s decision.

“Without so much as an amendment from parties, the Civil Service reform was rejected in its entirety. It is really saddening that the current rotten system is perpetuated,” Mr Petrides tweeted.

MPs who supported the Bills stressed the importance of cutting back on public expenditure, while those against the legislation claimed it did not go far enough.


 May’s attack on PS ‘irresponsible’

 LONDON (December 9): The union representing senior United Kingdom Public Servants has criticised Prime Minister, Theresa May’s attack on the country’s public workers, saying it was a classic case of “irresponsible Civil Service bashing”.

General Secretary of the FDA, Dave Penman said Ms May had joined an unedifying list of Prime Ministers who have publicly criticised underpaid and overworked Public Servants instead of voicing any concerns in private.

It follows a magazine interview in which the Prime Minister questioned the way staff in Whitehall failed to speak their minds and expressed exasperation at their fondness for acronyms.

Mr Penman said Public Servants “like politicians”, were not infallible “but true leadership is dealing with those issues in private and not resorting to the sort of Civil-Service bashing that certain sections of the media appear to crave”.


Netanyahu favours political appointments

JERUSALEM (December 11): Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent shivers down the backs of the country’s Public Servants when he said he would like to emulate the United States system where thousands of appointments can be made by the incoming Government.

“President-elect, Donald Trump can make 4,000 appointments. We should be able to make a few hundred appointments that don’t need a tender,” Mr Netanyahu said, according to reports from his weekly Cabinet meeting.

Mr Netanyahu has set up a committee that will explore ways to remove some of the checks and balances currently in place regarding public appointments.

Most Public Service posts in Israel are filled through a tender process that is supposed to ensure that appointees have the professional qualifications to take on the job. It is also meant to weed out instances of nepotism and cronyism.


Pensions ‘should be pay factor’

DUBLIN (December 8): Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe says the value of the country’s Public Service pensions has increased in recent years and the fact should be taken into account in determining future pay rates.

Mr Donohoe said the country could not afford to return to the previous benchmarking system for determining rates or to social partnership-style wage awards.

“What I want to ensure is that in the engagement that we have in the future with trade unions in relation to the setting of public pay, we take account of the value of future pensions in determining rates of remuneration,” Mr Donohoe said.

“I want the Public Service Pay Commission to provide an input into how we will do this. What is crucial is that all of this work is fact based and evidence based.”


Spike in early retirements

KUALA LUMPUR (December 10): A report to Malaysia’s Senate states that some 72,000 Public Servants have opted for early retirement in the past decade.

While the figure is not large in a Public Service numbering more than a million, it has affected Treasury estimates of the money needed to be set aside for pension payments.

The report said that while many workers said their main reasons for early retirement was the desire to do voluntary work or spend more time with family, others were starting careers in the private sector, getting the benefit of both the pension and another income.  

It suggests that better career paths and opportunities for promotion might tempt more experienced personnel to continue their careers in the Public Service.


Government quizzed on PS vacancies

GIBRALTAR (December 12): The Opposition Gibraltar Social Democrat Party (GSD) is continuing to question the Government on its plans to fill 177 vacancies in the British Overseas Territory’s Public Service.

In a statement, the GSD said the vacancies were advertised before the 2015 General Election but have still not been filled.

“Not filling those vacancies will be an effective cut in the Public Service complement. The Government continues to dodge the issue and refuses to come clean on its intentions,” the Opposition party said in a statement.

The Opposition said the Government had failed to deal with the use of contract workers from recruitment consultants on the minimum wage occupying Public Service posts on a long term basis, and had also failed to justify why the Chief Secretary and the Principal Auditor had received 28 per cent pay rises.


Election hopefuls must quit PS

NAIROBI (December 10): Public Servants who want to run for Parliament in next year’s Kenyan national elections have until February 7 to declare their intentions and resign.

Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua said this was in accordance with the country’s Election Act 2011.

It does not apply to Governors of Counties, their deputies or members of County Assemblies.

Public Servants who have declared they will seek elective posts in 2017 include the Chief Secretary of the Department of Water, Kenya’s Ambassador to Tanzania and the Chief Executive of the Export Promotion Council.


End for hated quota system

LONDON (December 9): The much-loathed ‘rank and yank’ performance management system by which United Kingdom Public Service managers were forced to identify the bottom 10 per cent of performers in their workforces has been junked.

The system was introduced to help target poor performance, something the Public Service has acknowledged has been a problem, but the ranking system was criticised for targeting the wrong people as well as being hugely expensive to run.

Public Service unions have been told that a new Cabinet Office framework will be introduced in 2017 with new, more flexible arrangements based on some core principles that all Departments will need to meet.

Crucially, the principles do not require Departments to operate quotas and relative assessment, where staff are judged against the performance of others and placed in categories, including ‘must improve’, which ultimately puts them at risk of losing their jobs.


PNG province restructures PS

KAVIENG (December 11); The Papua New Guinea Province of New Ireland has launched a restructure of its Public Service, under the leadership of its Governor and former PNG Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan.

Sir Julius said high incentives and allowances over the national scale would be offered to attract the right officials to the island. This would be followed with the revamping of middle management positions.

He said five new appointees for Departmental Chief Executive positions and 16 director positions, would take up their new roles in mid-January.

“There has been a very visible lack of discipline, initiative, ownership and pride at all levels of the Public Service, leading to mismanagement and corruption, misuse of power and position, and the cynical disregard for ethics — this must stop,” Sir Julius said.


Public Service training centre launched

BAKU (December 10): A new training centre for Azerbaijani Public Servants has been opened in the capital, Baku.

The centre has been established under a joint project funded by the European Union and implemented under the United Nations Development Program with local input from the Azerbaijan Academy of Public Administration.

It is expected to set internal procedures and training modules that abide by European standards. While the main thrust will be the improvement of the local public sector, there will be capacity for officials in other countries in the region to attend.

Head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, Malena Mard said the centre was part of the EU’s commitment to Public Service capacity building in the country.


Jobs boost for Northern Ireland

BELFAST (December 13): The Northern Ireland Department for Communities says that about 150 new jobs will be created to handle changes in social security benefits across Britain.
The contract will see most of the jobs provided in Ballymena, with about 20 in Londonderry.

While a number of posts will be filled in the first instance through internal redeployment within the Public Service, it is expected the vast majority will be filled through external recruitment.

Posts will be in mainly administrative in nature, and will pay an average annual salary of £19,000 ($A32.200)


Union hits back at PS attacks

HALIFAX (December 10): A leading Public Service union says it has been forced to take out radio advertisements defending public sector workers from incessant attacks by the Canadian Provincial Government of Nova Scotia.

In a statement, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said Premier

Stephen McNeil was putting the interests of corporations ahead of families and cutting and privatising the services Nova Scotians relied on.

The advertisements will run from until December 25 on radio stations across the province.

The full Public Service News international news service resumes in mid-January at



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