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Section 33. Performance Verification Process

Performance Verification Process

33.1 Section 27.18 of the Public Service Pay Agreement provides that payment of these increases is dependent, in the case of each sector, organisation and grade, on verification of co-operation with flexibility and ongoing change, including co-operation with satisfactory implementation of the agenda for modernisation set out in the Agreement, maintenance of stable industrial relations and absence of industrial action in respect of any matters covered by that Agreement.

33.2 The parties have agreed that – with some variations – the arrangements established under Sustaining Progress to verify that the conditions for the payment of these increases have been met will continue.

33.3 The main elements of the process will be as follows (the arrangements vary somewhat between sectors, see notes below):
a) There will be Performance Verification Groups (PVG) for each of the Civil Service, Education, Health and Local Government sectors. Each sectoral Performance Verification Group will have an equal number of management, trade union and independent members and, in addition, an independent Chair.
b) The Chairs of each sectoral PVG and representatives of both management and trade unions in each of these groups will meet to agree issues relating to the operation of the performance verification process in each sector. They will agree the reporting templates, procedures and timetable to be used by the sectoral PVGs in assessing and verifying progress in relation to performance at sectoral, organisational and grade level. Where possible, and particularly in the case of front-line service delivery, these should include specific performance indicators at each level. Each sectoral PVG will make an assessment of progress, at the latest, one month in advance of each of the payment dates specified in the Agreement.
c) Draft outline action plans for each sector will be prepared by the management side and submitted to the appropriate sectoral partnership committee for agreement and will then be submitted to the sectoral PVG for approval.
d) The PVGs will assess the action plans to confirm whether they meet the requirements of the Agreement and conform to the reporting format, timetable and procedures mentioned above. If the PVG considers that an action plan is unsatisfactory it will be referred back for review through the partnership process. When approved by the PVG, acceptance of the action plan will be communicated to each head of organisation within the relevant sector for implementation.
e) Each head of organisation will prepare a progress report and present it to the appropriate partnership committee for consideration and will then send it, together with any comments which the partnership committee may wish to make, to the Secretary General responsible for the sector.
f) The Secretary General responsible for the sector will submit the reports to the PVG, together with an overview report on the sector and his or her assessment of whether the conditions set out in Section 33.1 above have been met and whether payment is warranted. Before reporting to the PVG, the Secretary General will inform the appropriate National Council of the assessment which he or she intends to convey to the PVG. Where the Secretary General considers it likely that his or her report on the assessment of whether the conditions have been met would not warrant implementation of a pay increase, the matter will be discussed by the relevant National Council before the report is finalised and, if he or she still intends so to report, he or she will convey any union side comments to the PVG.
g) The PVG will decide on the basis of the reports submitted to it whether the conditions set out in Section 33.1 above have been met and whether the payment of the relevant pay increase is warranted. Where necessary the PVG will, before making its decision, be given updated information on any relevant developments since the progress report was submitted. The final decision to pay the increase for the sector or any organisation or grade in it will rest with the Secretary General responsible for the sector. If the PVG decides that the making of a payment is not warranted, the Secretary General will not take a final decision until the matter has been referred to the relevant National Council for discussion.
h) In the event that a trade union considers that the decision made by the Secretary General is not in conformity with the terms of the Agreement, it may have recourse to the provisions of the Public Service Pay Agreement which deals with breaches of the Agreement.
i) Government Departments which have other public service bodies under their aegis will fulfil the role of quality assuring outcomes where a PVG does not exist or does not have a direct role in relation to the bodies in question. If an issue arises which could result in the Secretary General deciding that payment of an increase in such a body was not warranted, he or she will arrange to discuss the issue with the relevant unions in time to provide an opportunity for it to be resolved before the due payment date.
j) The Public Service Monitoring Group and the Public Service Sub-Committee of the National Implementation Body will oversee implementation of these arrangements.

The operation of the above arrangements in each sector will vary somewhat to reflect the particular circumstances of the sector.

In the Civil Service the verification process will operate at Departmental level for non-industrial civil servants. Accordingly draft action plans and progress reports will be prepared by heads of Departments and Offices and the relevant partnership committees are the departmental partnership committees. The appropriate National Council will be the General Council. Civil Service Sectoral Reports required in accordance with the above procedure and decisions on whether payments should be made will be made by the Secretary General, Public Service Management and Development, Department of Finance. In the case of industrial civil servants action plans are drawn up at Departmental level and the Joint Industrial Council is the appropriate partnership forum.

In the Health sector under Sustaining Progress there was an action plan for the sector. Under this agreement there will be action plans in respect of the National Hospitals Office, Primary Community and Continuing Care Services, and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies. The appropriate partnership committee will be the Health Services National Partnership Forum.

In the local authority sector, the appropriate partnership committee is the Local Authority National Partnership Advisory Group (LANPAG). LANPAG will prepare an Action Plan based on the Outline Action Plan for the sector and submit it to the PVG for approval. Following such approval, the action plan will be forwarded by LANPAG to each county and city manager for implementation. A progress report will be prepared by the city or county manager and furnished to the local partnership committee for consideration. The report, including any observations made by the local partnership committee, will then be forwarded by the city or county manager to LANPAG, who will prepare a Sectoral Report for consideration by the Secretary General for the sector.

In the education sector there will be sectoral action plans in respect of teachers, the Institutes of Technology (IOTs) and the Vocational Education Committees (VECs). The appropriate partnership body for teachers will be the Teachers’ Conciliation Council, while the Institutes of Technology National Partnership Forum and the VEC National Partnership Forum will be the appropriate partnership bodies for the IOT and VEC sectors. (Each IOT and VEC will consult with their own partnership structure on progress reports prior to referring them to the relevant sectoral forum for submission to the Secretary General). In the case of Universities and other bodies under the aegis of the Department of Education & Science, action plans at organisation level will be prepared by management and agreed through the appropriate partnership structure prior to submission to the PVG.