Stubborn civil servants confused about the directionlessness of their lives are being offered their own " personal life coach"councilling at the taxpayers expense ,the Sunday Independent reports (21-8-05)
The initial beneficiaries of the fashionable, american style psychotherapy support,will be the 160 staff at the Valuation Office in Dublin.
"Life coaching sessions" cost between 600 and 1000 Euros per client.It has not been established whether the service will be expanded to the entire civil service,which would add enormously to the bin taxes,commercial rates and all stealth taxes.
Life coaching has become a multi million dollar industry in america with so called "Gurus" offering to reshape the lives of those who have lost direction...
The officials at the Valuation office are facing a sea change in their lives,an 180 mile relocation to East Cork.
Only a handful of the 99 civil servants targeted for transportation to the yuppie yachting, resort town of Youghal are however, yearning for the right direction. (South).
The scheme will operate initially for one year ,and if the civil servants have not found their way to where they are going the councilling will be extended for a further two years.
Leading life coach Greg Dalton of Q1etc.com said that the new service would save the state money-in the long run.
He said "Coaching gets you from where you are- to where you want to be!" and described it as an enhanced form of career guidance...
If Greg does not succeed in his task,presumably Bertie will be recruiting 99 new civil servants from the environs of the unemployment black spot of East Cork.
Maybe it is better described as a service to; "get you from where you are -to where you don't want to be"!
(P.S. This article is a factual one in case you think we are taking the mickey.Check the Independent Archives if you dont believe it! ) or web site;
THE Government's decentralisation plans could top €65m a year, according to the Impact trade union.(October 2005)
It has called for an independent investigation into this and says while some locations are over-subscribed with applications, the take-up among specialist staff is very low at just 15pc.
Impact national secretary, Louise O'Donnell, called on TDs to seek an independent investigation of the cost of the programme "before taxpayers' money is wasted".
She said: "The next Government waste scandal is unfolding before our eyes but it is not too late to call a halt".
The union says that, going on certified figures which it has released, the cost of retaining the rest of the civil and public servants in Dublin will be between €50m and €65.6m a year.
The Impact report, which was released in last night's Prime Time programme on RTE, says: "If decentralisation goes ahead as currently planned, the civil service will need to recruit 876 additional specialists to carry out existing functions in the new locations."
It adds: "Our analysis also shows that, on a conservative estimate, the taxpayer will be burdened with ongoing costs of between €51.1m and €65.6m each year in respect of a similar number of technical and professional civil servants who will remain in Dublin with no obvious role."
Impact says the 876 specialist posts include engineers, architects, probation officers, valuers and agricultural inspectors., . The Impact cost analysis only covers payroll and accommodation costs of the staff concerned
Reports leaked in August 2006 say some of the largest performance-related bonuses were paid to senior officials in the Department of Health.
Three public servants received more than €20,000, with one securing a massive €25,000.
The performance-related bonuses are based on self-assessment forms and a review by each government department into how specific goals have been achieved.
This morning's reports say a total of €2.1m in such bonuses was shared by 185 senior civil servants last year, prompting the committee which monitors the situation to warn department chiefs not to be so generous with taxpayers' money.
Wish we could all "self assess" our salaries and tell the boss what we were worth-not what he thought we were worth.!
-it only happens with Fianna Fail-and taxpayers money.
JOHN DRENNAN (Sunday independent).Feb 2007
A CASE involving the use of fixed-term contract workers by Government bodies could cost the Exchequer hundreds of millions of euro and shatter the public sector embargo on recruitment.
The Sunday Independent has learned that a test case involving a number of long-term fixed-contract workers for the Local Government Computer Services Board (LGCSB) could see Government departments being forced to employ thousands of highly paid independent consultants on a permanent basis.
At present the chronic shortage of IT skills in the public sector means that Government departments have to hire independent contractors if they wish to upgrade their computer systems.
The hiring of such contractors in this and other areas also allows departments to evade the restrictions of the embargo on recruitment to the public sector.
However, if the challenge which is expected to be shortly heard by the Labour Rights Commissioner is successful, the contractors, who earn substantially more than most public sector workers, would be entitled to what is called a 'contract of indefinite duration'. This will allow them to secure all the perks of the public sector workers in terms of permanency and pension rights - but at a far higher rate of remuneration.
Such a result would shatter the present pay scales in all the departments and lead to a wave of union unrest over a two-tier pay scale in the public sector.
It would also have serious implications for the next benchmarking report.
The genesis of this present crisis occurred when a number of contractors who provided IT consultancy services to the department's Local Government Computer Services Board over a number of years claimed they were entitled to contracts of indefinite duration.
Under the Fixed Term Workers Act of 2003, if employees are hired on a series of one-year contacts after four years the employer must offer them a contract of indefinite duration on the same terms and conditions they were earning on the yearly contract.
Unsurprisingly, legal sources believe that if the claim is successful it will lead to "a tsunami of similar claims" and that this is only the "tip of an unquantifiable iceberg".
Though the LGCSB is fighting the case, it is believed it has received advice which states that the majority of the plaintiffs qualify for contracts of indefinite duration.
The board has been told that the so-called contractors meet key criteria in areas such as the possession of a dedicated desk, a land line, exclusivity in terms of work options and a requirement to clock in.
The contractors also had to report to civil service managers and were even given business cards.
It is believed fear of alienating the public sector unions was another factor in taking the case.
And the same day this news broke, lighter reading..
WHEN it comes to Impressionists, Dail Sketch always believed the ward boss was a Bull Island man.
But when Bertie admitted last week that he was actually a fan of that school of French Impressionists such as the artist Degas - who believed "art is not what you see but what you make others see" - the confession explained a lot.
There was certainly more than a small element of Degas in Bertie's "hiding in full view"-style response to Pat Rabbitte's query as to whether the Taoiseach might be doing anything about the attempt by our underpaid auctioneers to increase their fees.
It was consoling to hear that the ward boss would "not defend condone or stand over developers, auctioneers or agents of any type" who fleece the public.
Sadly, the Taoiseach's claim that the Government's new "property regulatory services authority" (Quango number 446 in a long list (http://www.soldiersofdestiny.org/jobsfortheboys.htm ) should be contacted, didn't do the job either. Rabbitte's Casablanca-style explosion - "of all the meandering irrelevant answers that the Taoiseach has ever given, this is the worst of them" - was justified.
The Taoiseach's position on the auctioneers is merely the latest example of the Degas-style school of accountability.
On the plus side at least we finally have a strategy for health. Simpletons may think the present problems are all about issues such as generational under-investment. 'We wanted a referendum for de children'
Instead the PD Queen of Hearts, Mary Harney, has continued the great tradition of selecting a scapegoat to cover the Government's failures.
Everyone thought Angola had been sorted out when Brian Cowen "courageously" faced down those greedy nurses and their outrageous demands to be earning enough money to afford a house in Dublin .
Other cynics will note that, rather like the Martin Cullen school of infrastructural investment - you wait four years for a single extra bus in Dublin and then in election year 100 come along - Ms Harney's brave stand has occurred at a rather fortuitous moment.
Ultimately the highlight of the week was provided by the Taoiseach's passive-aggressive stance on the children's referendum. The Government may have spent the past nine years hiring high-falutin lawyers to fight tooth and nail against any extension of the rights of children. However, now that the election is 10 weeks away, Bertie wants to enshrine their rights in the constitution.
If a referendum comes along, Bertie will be able to pose as a friend of the child; if the opposition delay it, Ahern will be able to sigh about how he "wanted a referendum for de little children but de opposition wouldn't let me".
Dail Sketch suspects even Degas would have been impressed by the artistry with which such a fine impressionist portrait of a caring ward boss has been constructed.
Monday November 03 2008
THE Government is under fire after revelations that every staff member in the public service got performance-related payments of up to €6,000 because fellow civil servants ignored guidelines.
Consultants had designed the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) in 2004 with a five-point scale to rate staff, with 'one' being the worst and 'five' the best.
The designers, Mercer Consultants, had estimated that 20pc of staff should fall into the 'one' and 'two' categories, but it is now claimed that just 1.6pc of staff, or 300 individuals, received the lower grades in 2007.
The Government would only say last night that "extensive training" was provided to civil servants and that they all understood how the controversial performance-related payment system was meant to operate.
But Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar said: "There's something wrong with an organisation if it shows that everyone is always doing a good job."
(Last time I wrote a letter to the Department of Social Welfare,I eventually got a reply-6 months later.!!-they dont use computers for interacting with the public)
The Department of Finance was remaining tightlipped on the matter last night and could not confirm whether a review of the system would be taking place.
But a spokesman insisted: "When the Performance Management and Development system was introduced, both staff and management were given extensive training on how it would operate."
Guidelines say that the ratings specified by Mercer are "not binding", but "illustrate a broad pattern that could be expected at organisational level".
The 18 employees who received the 'one' grade got no pay rise, while the 285 who earned a 'two' rank received an increase but were denied a promotion, according to the figures.
Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that public sector increases that Taoiseach Brian Cowen negotiated under the social partnership deal will cost the taxpayer over €1bn.
Information secured by Mr Varadkar shows that a combination of the increments, a 2.5pc increase this year and a 3.5pc rise in 2009, will cost at least €1bn -- despite an 11-month pay freeze.
Mr Varadkar told the Irish Independent yesterday that his party was currently looking at alternatives to PMDS. He revealed that the broad principle of their proposed system would involve "local managers having more autonomy" than under the current scheme.
Meanwhile, the exchequer is also losing hundreds of millions of euro due to absenteeism in the public sector.
Health Service Executive staff are taking almost twice as many sick days as the national average, while primary and secondary school teachers take almost 240,000 sick days a year.
The latest audit in the HSE shows that absenteeism is at 6.2pc, costing the executive around €150m a year.
Porters, caterers, carpenters, care assistants and other support staff were the biggest culprits, with 8pc of their working hours lost to sick leave.
Drivers, nurses aids, health promotion officers and community welfare officers were out of work for 7pc of the working year.
In education, an average €60m a year is being spent on substitute teachers due to absenteeism among permanent staff.
- Stephen O'Farrell (Irish Independent)