Home Page Email Us Site Map
Various Buildings Tullamore Building Trim Building Carlow Building

Guide to Decentralisation for Personnel Officers - Abridged Version

 Personnel Officers Guide – Abridged Version

 

1.    In January 2006, the Central Decentralisation Unit issued a draft booklet to Personnel Officers containing

  • copies of documents as negotiated with the staff unions,
  • draft letters to be used by the PAS and Personnel Officers in conducting various processes, and
  • advice on the implementation of various protocols agreed under the Programme.

2.  An abridged version of this guide follows below. This version omits chapter 1, 2, 7 and 8 of the original Guide as well as draft letters to be used by the PAS and Personnel Officers in conducting various processes.

 

Central Decentralisation Unit

September 2009.

 

Chapter 3

 

Sequence for filling Decentralised Posts

 

The sequence for filling decentralising posts is as follows:-

  1. Agriculture Surplus
  2. First preference priority applications on the CAF
  3. Two to ten trawls of priority applicants
  4. Priority applications from Tax Officers and Higher Tax Officers
  5. Post 7 September 2004 applications to present date
  6. Acting up for 2 years or more
  7. Promotion

 

 

1.           Agriculture Surplus

3.1         As a result of internal organisational changes arising from changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, the Department of Agriculture and Food has a number of staff that are, or will be, surplus to requirements.  Existing vacancies in a town where there are excess Department of Agriculture staff must be filled by the redeployment of these staff.  For an organisation decentralising to a town with surplus Department of Agriculture staff, priority over CAF applicants should be given to the surplus staff in that town.  Other points to note are 

  • Surplus Agriculture staff are not entitled to priority over CAF applicants for locations which are distant from their current location;
  • Any CAF applications made by surplus Agriculture staff are not affected by these arrangements;
  • Surplus Agriculture staff will carry their seniority with them in all cases;
  • Departments with existing offices in or decentralising to a town with surplus Agriculture staff cannot refuse these staff for any reason including sick leave records. 

3.2         The list of surplus staff that is available at any time should be considered as indicative only and organisations seeking staff should contact Department of Agriculture to ascertain the specifics for the location in question. 

 

2.           First Preference Priority Applicants on the CAF

3.3         Offers should only be made to CAF applicants in respect of their first preference location.  A CAF applicant should never receive an offer for a location which is not his or her first preference at the time that the offer is being made.

 

Ranking of CAF Applicants

3.4         Paragraph 21 of the HR document details the ranking of preferences for all CAF applicants.  In relation to transfer lists, most of these are for the SO and CO grades (see chapter 5).  Personnel Officers should check for the existence of transfer lists in the location to which they are decentralising and ensure that any CAF applicants on transfer lists are included correctly in the ranking.

 

Equivalent grades referred to in Paragraph 21 Fourth preference

3.5         Fourth preference on the CAF is given to staff serving in the same or equivalent grade on the basis of seniority in the grade.  The list of agreed equivalent grades for EO, HEO, AP and PO is as shown in the table. 

 

Executive Officer

Junior Clerk (Houses of the Oireachtas)

Equivalency based on eligibility to apply for confined HEO

Higher Executive Officer

Administrative Officer

Third Secretary

Former Inspector of taxes

Auditor in the Comptroller & Auditor General’s Office

Senior Clerk (Houses of the Oireachtas)

Equivalency based on eligibility to apply for confined AP Competition

Assistant Principal

First Secretary

Senior Auditor in the Comptroller & Auditor General’s Office

Assistant Principal Committee Clerk (Houses of the Oireachtas)

Principal Clerk (Houses of the Oireachtas)

Investigator in Office of the Ombudsman

Investigator in Office of the Information Commissioner

Equivalency based on eligibility to apply for confined AP Competition

Principal

Counsellor

Deputy Director of Audit in the Comptroller & Auditor General’s Office

Principal Committee Clerk (Houses of the Oireachtas)

Senior Investigator in Office of the Ombudsman

Senior Investigator in Office of the Information Commissioner

Equivalency based on inclusion in interdepartmental PO Competition

Equivalent grades agreed form a single pool with main grade

3.6         Personnel Officers should note that in filling posts in oversubscribed locations, applicants at the main grades and equivalent grades should form a single pool.  The posts should then be allocated on the basis of seniority in the main grade or the equivalent grade.  This means for example that in the allocation of HEO posts, an auditor in the Office of the C&AG is treated exactly the same as a HEO.  Personnel Officers should ensure that equivalent grades are not overlooked in the allocation of decentralisation posts.  Note that Auditors working for organisations other than the Office of the C&AG are not an equivalent grade.

 

Other grades at corresponding levels

3.7         Paragraph 21 of the HR document allows for Fifth preference to be given to staff serving in other grades at corresponding levels provided that there is an agreement in place with the relevant staff representatives.  No such agreement was reached before the period for priority applications ended but agreement relating to the grades of Tax Officer and Higher Tax Officer has since been concluded – see separate document on the website.   

 

Two to ten trawls of priority applicants

3.8         Before a decentralising organisation approaches its post September 2004 applicants or makes promotions to a decentralising grade for a specific location, it must approach the CAF applicants who selected that location as a second or subsequent preference.  These applicants are entitled to an opportunity to change the location in question to their first preference and receive an offer.  The mechanism for approaching these CAF applicants is called a two-to-ten trawl and it is described in detail in Chapter 4.  When the trawl is finished, Personnel Officers will receive the names of those individuals who opt to change their preference to the location.  They should be offered places as laid out in the Ranking table below.   

 

Applications from Tax Officers and Higher Tax Officers.

3.9         From 18 January 2006, offers in respect of EO posts can be made to Higher Tax Officers and in respect of CO posts to Tax Officers under an agreement which was reached between the official and staff sides of General Council on that date.  Any arrangements relating to decentralisation made by departments and offices in advance of 18 January 2006 are unaffected by the agreement and cannot be challenged on the basis of anything included in it. – see separate document elsewhere on the website.

 

3.10       From 1 July 2007, the grade of Higher Tax Officer (HTO) became eligible to be treated as an Executive Officer (EO) equivalent interdepartmentally and Tax Officers (TO) will become eligible to be treated as Clerical Officers (CO).  For the purposes of decentralisation only, HTOs and TOs who accept offers of a decentralising transfer to a department or office other than the Revenue Commissioners are recertified to EO or CO respectively by the Revenue Commissioners on the date of transfer. 

  • Seniority in the EO grade of a former HTO and in the CO grade of a former TO, will count from the date of commencement in the new organisation;
  • The bringing forward of the recertification date is for the purposes of decentralisation only and therefore HTOs who are recertified as EOs in advance of 1 July 2007 will not be eligible to apply for promotion to Higher Executive Officer until 1 July 2007. 
  • HTOs who are recertified as EOs will not be eligible to be considered for EO higher scales in their new department or office and cannot be counted by that organisation in calculating the number of EO higher scale posts;
  • All EO and CO priority applicants for a location, including those who have selected the location as a second or subsequent preference have priority over HTOs and TOs priority applicants.  This means that a two-to-ten trawl must be completed for a location at the EO grade before an offer can be made to a HTO.  The position is identical for COs and TOs.

 

 

Ranking Table for CAF Applicants for Location Cork

HEO, EO, SO and CO grades*

1.    HEO/EO/CO/SO at the desk who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

 

2.   HEO/EO/CO/SO in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

 

3.   HEO/EO/CO/SO on transfer list, ranked chronologically, who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

 

4.   HEO/EO/CO/SO in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

 

5.   HEO/EO/CO/SO at the desk who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

 

6.   HEO/EO/CO/SO in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

 

7.   HEO/EO/CO/SO on a transfer list, ranked chronologically, who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl 

 

8.   HEO/EO/CO/SO in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

 

9.   HTO/TO who applied before 7/9/04 ranked by seniority as a HTO or TO and had 1st preference as Cork.

 

10. HTO/TO who applied before 7/9/04 ranked by seniority as a HTO or TO and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

 

11.  HEO/EO/CO/SO/HTO/TO who applied after 7/9/04 ranked by date of application.

  

* All references to HEO and EO should be take to include their agreed equivalent grades as shown above

 

AP and PO Standard and Higher posts

3.11       PO and AP standard and higher posts are not independently distinguished on CAF and are all shown as PO and AP posts respectively.

 

3.12       Departments and Offices should ensure that they distinguish clearly between a substantive AP or PO higher post and an AP or PO standard receiving the higher pay scale on a personal basis.  Under the AHCPS PCW 1% settlements (and in the integration in the Revenue Commissioners) some officers were given the higher payscales on a personal basis.  In these cases, the post held by the recipient is a standard post because the additional payment relates to the person and not to the post.  

 

3.13       An AP or PO whose salary was upgraded to the higher scale in a personal capacity will be treated as an AP or PO Standard for lateral transfer purposes in allocating standard posts.  In such cases, seniority is counted from the date of appointment as an AP/PO standard.  All references below to AP/PO standard include APs and POs whose salary was upgraded to the higher scale in a personal capacity.

 

Allocation of AP Standard Posts

  • Where an AP/PO higher and an AP/PO standard have applied for an AP/PO standard post, the post will be allocated to the AP/PO standard.
  • In the absence of an AP/PO standard application, the post can be allocated to an AP/PO higher who will retain the additional AP higher pay in a personal capacity.
  • Ranking table for standard posts shows the basis on which the posts are allocated.

 

Allocation of AP Higher Posts

  • Where an AP/PO higher and an AP/PO standard have applied for a higher post, the post will allocated to the AP/PO higher.
  • If there is an excess of higher applicants, the post will be allocated on the basis of seniority in the higher grade;
  • Seniority for higher posts is counted from the date of appointment to the higher grade. 
  • If there are no AP/PO higher applicants, the post will be allocated to the most senior AP/PO standard, following consultation with Department of Finance.
  • Ranking table for higher posts shows the basis on which the posts are allocated.

 

 

Ranking for AP and PO Standard grades*

1.    AP/PO Standard at the desk who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

2.   AP/PO Standard in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

3.   AP/PO Higher in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

4.   AP/PO Standard in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

5.    AP/PO Higher in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

6.    AP/PO at the desk who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

7.   AP/PO Standard in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

8.   AP/PO Higher in the Department ranked by seniority, who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl 

9.   AP/PO Standard in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

10.   AP/PO Higher in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

11.  Any AP/PO who applied after 7/9/04 ranked by date of application.

* All references to AP and PO should be take to include their agreed equivalent grades as shown above

 

 

 

Ranking AP and PO Higher grades*

1.    AP/PO Higher at the desk who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

2.   AP/PO Higher in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

3.   AP/PO Standard in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

4.   AP/PO Higher in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

5.    AP/PO Standard in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and had 1st preference as Cork

6.    AP/PO at the desk who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

7.   AP/PO Higher in the Department ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

8.   AP/PO Standard in the Department ranked by seniority, who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl 

9.   AP/PO Higher in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

10.   AP/PO Standard in other Departments ranked by seniority who applied before 7/9/04 and who changed 1st preference to Cork in a two to ten trawl

11.  Any AP/PO who applied after 7/9/04 ranked by date of application.

* The equivalent grade for AP Higher is Principal Clerk in the Houses of the Oireachtas. 


 

Chapter 4

 

Two-to-ten trawls

 

This chapter deals with two-to-ten trawls and post 7 September applications

 

4.1         A decentralising organisation which is undersubscribed for a location at a particular grade is required to take account of two possible sources of applications before making promotions to that grade.  These must be approached in the following order and are

 

  1. Priority applicants at the relevant grade who selected that location as a second or subsequent preference.  These are referred to as the “two-to-tens;
  2. Applications at the relevant grade made post 7 September 2004.

 

Two-to-Ten trawls

4.2         Two-to-ten trawls can be undertaken for undersubscribed locations.  They are designed to give an opportunity to people, who selected a specific location as their second or subsequent preference, to change that location to their first preference in order to receive an offer for that location.  Each two-to-ten trawl is done by location, grade and organisation.  So for example, a trawl may be necessary for Executive Officer in Department of Education and Science’s transfer to Athlone.

 

How to do a two-to-ten trawl;

4.3         The procedure to be followed in doing a two-to-ten trawl is as follows:-

  • The Personnel Officer of the decentralising organisation confirms in writing or by e-mail to the Department of Finance that all first preference applications at the relevant grade have been approached and that a shortfall of X remains to be filled in Location Y.  A formal request for a trawl is made and a letter of invitation is forwarded with the request.  See below.  Each trawl normally operates for 10 working days
  • The Department of Finance requests the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to notify all priority applicants at the grade who selected Location Y as their second or subsequent preference of the opportunity to change their first preference to Location Y.
  • Individuals who opt to make the change are requested to change the first preference on their CAF application form and to contact the Personnel Officer of the decentralising organisation and inform them of this change and the location and organisation from which they are changing.
  • When the trawl is complete (usually after 10 working days), an updated list of all applicants at the grade (and agreed equivalent grades) is sent to the Personnel Officer including those who applied after 7 September.  The Personnel Officer will make an assessment of the number of application changes which have been received and will rank them according to the HR document (Paragraph 21). 
  • If the number of changed applications exceeds X, then the Personnel Officer will notify to the PAS the names of those individuals who will not receive an offer for Location Y.  The PAS will restore these individuals’ original first preferences without loss of priority.

 

4.4         The notification to applicants from PAS asks interested individuals to take action within 10 working days.  This allows personnel officers to make an assessment and ranking at that point.  In reality however, if an individual makes a change several months after the request and posts still remain unfilled, the individual can receive an offer at that stage.  [CDU Advice: This proved impractical and has not been implemented].  Personnel officers are free to extend the amount of time given from 10 days if they consider it is warranted.

 

Post 7 September applications

4.5         Following the two-to-ten trawl, the names of all applicants at the relevant grade who applied for Location Y as their first preference including those who applied after 7 September 2004 will be released to the Personnel Officer of the decentralising location.

 

It is important to remember that a two-to-ten trawl must be completed before approaching the post 7 September applicants at every grade.

 

Action required after the two-to-ten trawl

4.6         After a two to ten trawl has been completed for an organisation there are a number of things that the personnel officer may need to do

 

1.           People who changed their first preference to your location who will not receive an offer from you

You should write to the PAS listing the names of the individuals (if any) who changed their first preference as a result of the trawl and who will not be made an offer.  You should formally request the PAS to restore each of the individuals to their original first preference and preserve their priority.   

You should inform each of the individuals concerned that this is being done. 

2.           People who changed their first preference to your location who will receive an offer from you

You must inform the personnel officer responsible for the person's original first preference location that the individual has changed his first preference to your location.  If you don't know this you will have to find out - put it in with the letter of offer. 

3.           Any other applicants for the grade such as post 7 September applicants  

You must inform these that all the posts at the relevant grade are assigned and that they will not get a posting to your location.  The PAS should also be given their names. 

 

  

Chapter 5

CPSU Grades (Staff Officer and Clerical Officer)

 

This chapter refers to grades which are represented by the CPSU.

 

5.1         Seniority of CPSU grades and Decentralisation

Clerical Officers (CO) and Staff Officers (SO) who opt to transfer to a new department or office in order to decentralise lose their seniority.  Their seniority starts anew in their new department or office. 

 

For SOs and COs transferring to a decentralising organisation, seniority will be determined by their ranking on the CAF and not by their start date.   It is not therefore necessary to call SOs and COs into a decentralising organisation by reference to their placing on the CAF.  Organisations should call SOs and COs in whatever order best suits its business needs. 

 

The date on which the first SO or CO transfers to an organisation will become the nominal date of transfer for all remaining CAF transferees at that grade.  It will be necessary to rank all SOs and COs relative to each other by reference to their CAF ranking in order to determine their seniority in the decentralised organisation. 

 

5.2         Seniority of CPSU grades who are not decentralising

SOs and COs retain their seniority on moving if they are required to leave an organisation which is decentralising because they do not wish to decentralise with their posts.  Seniority is retained whether or not the CO or SO volunteered to leave.

 

5.3         Transfer Lists for CO and SO (Central Transfer Lists)

  • The HR document dictates that in allocating posts to individuals from outside the department or office, preference must be given to those whose names are on transfer list (Paragraph 21 Third Preference).
  • Interdepartmental transfer lists are in place for both Clerical Officers and Staff Officers.  The CAF allowed applicants to indicate if their name were included on a transfer list for the location(s) for which they were applying.
  • The CO and SO transfer list system gives precedence on a chronological basis i.e. each post is allocated to the individual whose name has been on the transfer list for the greatest period of time.  Seniority in the grade is not relevant.
  • The decentralising department will need to ensure that, where an oversubscription is likely, the posts are allocated strictly according to the CAF rules.  In order to do this, decentralising organisations should verify CO and SO placings on transfer lists, by requesting that all likely departments check CAF applicants at CO and SO level against their relevant transfer lists.
  • For any specific location such as Limerick, there may be as many transfer lists as there are civil service offices in the city.
  • This verification will need to be completed before offers are made to COs from outside your organisation if:- 

                  - your decentralisation location is oversubscribed for CO and/or SOs; or

                  - the move to the new location will occur in phases which have significant intervening timeframes.  In such cases, posts in the early phases should be                    offered to those who have the highest CAF rankings.

  • Otherwise verification can be undertaken at a later stage in order to determine the relative seniority of each CO and/or SO. 

 

5.4                 Interaction of Career Breaks with the Central Transfer Scheme

Special leave without pay for a career break does not reckon for purposes of progression under the Central Transfer Scheme.  An officer who is on a transfer list should indicate, prior to commencing a career break, whether or not s/he wishes to be made offers of transfer while on career break.  The onus would be on the officer on career break to ensure that his/her Personnel Section have been supplied with an up-to-date contact address and telephone number.  Circular 18/98 covers Special Leave without Pay for Career Breaks.

 

Chapter 6

 

Issues surrounding the making of offers to CAF applicants

 

6.1         Sick Leave

The HR Document states that transfers for decentralisation may be subject to the sick leave and performance of staff.  A decentralising organisation is entitled to reject an applicant if s/he has an unacceptable level of sick leave when the offer is being made.  The organisation is not under any obligation to make a further offer at a later stage.  A department can if it wishes accept an applicant who has an unacceptable level of sick leave or even give the applicant an opportunity over a specific period (e.g. a year) to improve their record.  This is completely at the discretion of the management of the decentralising organisation.

 

6.2         Career breaks

An individual on a career break can apply for decentralisation and is entitled to receive an offer for decentralisation.  The onus is on the individual on a career break to ensure that s/he can be contacted in relation to his or her CAF application. 

 

If a decentralising organisation is making an offer to a person on a career break and the career break has been granted by another department, then it is up the organisation making the offer to decide if they will allow the person to continue with the career break or not.  This should be made clear when the offer is being made.  Organisations are free to reach an accommodation or compromise with the individual concerned.

 

6.3         Partners

The HR Document states that where a staff member has a partner who wishes to move to a particular location, consideration will be given to facilitating both partners.  In the priority period almost 1,000 applicants indicated that they had a partner who would also be transferring.  In most cases there should be no difficulty in offering posts to both members of a couple as each will qualify for an offer in their own right.  However in oversubscribed locations one member of a couple may qualify for an offer and the other may not qualify in his or her own right.  In cases such as these, the CPSU, the PSEU and the AHCPS have all indicated that they are opposed to having any of their members displaced by another member because the displacing member is part of a couple.  It has been agreed with the staff panel unions that Departments should deal with these cases (where only one member of a couple qualifies) on a case by case basis.  Personnel Offers should be proactive in seeking solutions which would facilitate both partners.  Facilitation in this case can be taken to include finding a post in another office in the town or in another nearby town. 

 

6.4         Loss of priority status for CAF applications

A priority application will lose its priority status in the following cases

  1. the grade of the applicant changes.  An individual who was promoted after 7 September 2004 loses priority status at the new grade.  The application is taken to date from the date of promotion.
  2. the applicant changes the first preference location. 

 

6.5         Same Centre Applications

The HR document (paragraph 9) precludes applications for transfer between departments and agencies in the same geographical location.  While this clearly prohibits the transfer of an individual from one office to another office in the same centre such as a town, no distance limit in miles is specified to define same geographical location

 

Table A shows a list of sample pairs of centres which are close to one another geographically.  There are others which are not identified here.  It is not intended to refuse applications from individuals working in any one of these locations to its pair. 

 

Any existing agreement with local trade unions within an organisation or group of organisations will continue to apply.

 

County

Town

Department/Office

Distance in Miles

Kildare

Kildare

Newbridge

Social & Family Affairs -Existing

Department of Defence – New

6.1

Kildare

Naas

Newbridge

Agriculture + Social & Family Affairs - Existing

Department of Defence – New

6.5

Galway

Galway city

Na Forbacha

Department of Defence – New

Community, Rural & Gaeltacht - New

8

Donegal

Letterkenny

Raphoe

Revenue+Social & Family Affairs - Existing

Agriculture – Existing

11.1