Efficiency / capability
B41 – Inefficiency / capability
Sub-standard performance (otherwise referred to as 'inefficiency' or 'capability') can manifest itself where:
- during a new civil servant's probationary period it becomes clear that he is unsuitable for continued employment (separate procedures for dealing with probationers are to be found in the Civil Service Regulations Handbook – Probationary Reporting Procedures)
- a civil servant fails to carry out the duties of his post in a satisfactory manner
- a civil servant's performance deteriorates so that it no longer adequately measures up to an acceptable standard for his post
- a civil servant, who is efficient while at work, fails to give satisfactory service because of frequent or continuous absences (possibly arising from minor non recurrent ailments)
B42 – Achieving satisfactory performance
Proper training, supervision and encouragement are essential to the achievement of satisfactory performance. It is important that the performance of every civil servant should be kept under review and appraised continuously. Inadequate performance, particularly during probation periods should be identified as soon as possible so that appropriate remedial action can be taken.
Further information Probationary Reporting Procedures, can be found in the Civil Service Regulations Handbook.
B43 – Deciding whether sub standard performance is due to lack of skill, ability or misconduct
When dealing with a case of sub-standard performance, a clear distinction must be drawn between lack of skill or ability and misconduct (eg carelessness, inattention, negligence or wilful failure to act upon advice designed to remedy the situation).
Misconduct normally involves a measure of personal blame for which some form of action under the disciplinary procedures (set out in Regulations B1-15) may be appropriate.
On the other hand, lack of ability, skill or experience may be the result of poor recruitment, promotion beyond the level of competence, or inadequate training. Where this is alleged, the Accounting Officer should give early consideration to whether the situation might be remedied by training or transfer to alternative work.
B44 – Sub standard performance due to changes in the workplace
Where unsatisfactory performance stems from the introduction of new technology, re-organisation or changing patterns of work, the Accounting Officer should take appropriate steps, where practicable, to help the civil servant concerned to acquire any new skills that may be required.
B45 – Personal or domestic difficulties
The possibility that a personal or domestic difficulty, which might be adversely affecting the civil servant's general health, lies at the root of the poor performance should be borne in mind and if, after counselling the civil servant, this is found to be the case consideration should be given to agreeing with the civil servant the most appropriate course of action to remedy the situation.
This might include support from one of the Civil Service Welfare Officers.
B46 – Alcohol or drug abuse
Poor performance may be attributable, on rare occasions, to the effects of alcohol or drug abuse and a course of action designed to assist a civil servant who may be suffering in this way should be adopted. In such cases, the aim should be to identify the problem and factors likely to constitute early warning signs including absenteeism, changes in personality, irritability, slurred speech, impaired concentration and memory, deterioration in personal hygiene, anxiety and depression. Alcohol and drug abuse can afflict any civil servant regardless of status and seniority, and the aim should be to assist colleagues to recognise the symptoms at an early stage and to encourage the civil servant concerned to seek help and medical treatment.
Copies of the Government's Alcohol and Drug policies can be found in the Civil Service Regulations Handbook and both managers and staff should be familiar with the contents of each one.
Note: Regulations B47 - B48 are blank.
B49 – Procedures for dealing with sub-standard performance
Accounting Officers are responsible for ensuring that all civil servants are made aware of the standards of performance expected of them by their line managers. If the civil servant's work does not reach, or falls below, the standard normally expected, the following procedure should be followed with a full record being kept at each stage:
a) as soon as the inadequacy is identified and its degree assessed, it must be brought to the civil servant's attention by his line manager or Accounting Officer:
- an explanation sought for the shortcoming
- the required standard of performance re-affirmed
- the civil servant reminded that he has a responsibility to achieve that standard within a specified timescale and
- advised that every help and encouragement will be given to enable him to improve
b) if the reason for the inadequacy is found to be because of lack of knowledge or understanding, a course of action should be agreed to remedy the deficiency (eg by appropriate advice, explanation, coaching, training etc), and no other action should be taken except to inform the civil servant that his performance will be monitored closely and reviewed after a specified period
c) where the civil servant has been promoted recently and is having difficulty in coping with the duties at the higher grade, he should be assured that appropriate assistance and encouragement will be given through training or other means to reach an acceptable level of performance within a specified period
d) consideration may need to be given by the Accounting Officer to whether a change of duties is desirable or possible and, if alternative work is offered and accepted, the new standards of performance should be explained and the civil servant informed that his performance will be monitored closely
e) where the Accounting Officer is satisfied that the fault lies with the civil servant (i.e. misconduct), the latter should be warned that failure to rectify the problem will mean that consideration will have to be given to activating the disciplinary procedures set out in Regulations B1-15
f) where the deficiency persists but the civil servant is judged to be capable of improvement, he should be seen again by his line manager (or other more senior manager) and a further opportunity given to him to explain why he has failed to improve. He should be reminded of the standard which must be achieved and given a reasonable specified period in which to attain it. During this period the civil servant should continue to receive every help and encouragement to enable the required standard to be reached
g) where paragraph (f) applies, the civil servant should be warned in writing that failure to demonstrate a sustained improvement in the standard of his work within the specified period will lead to the submission of an adverse report by the Accounting Officer to the Secretary of the Public Service Commission and the possibility that his appointment will be terminated. The Accounting Officer should place a copy of the letter or warning and a record of the discussion with the civil servant on the latter’s personal file held in the Department to show that this final warning has been given.
B50 – Submission of an adverse report
Where, after having been given the written warnings referred to in Regulation B49, the civil servant fails, or is unable, to reach the required standard and a change of duties is either not possible or not considered appropriate, the Accounting Officer should submit a report on the civil servant under confidential cover to the Secretary of the Public Service Commission and must advise the civil servant in writing that the report is judged to be adverse. Reports regarding sub-standard performance may be submitted for consideration by the Commission at any time and should not be left until the next normal reporting date. The Accounting Officer should use the standard report format for this purpose and must ensure that its contents have been discussed with the civil servant before forwarding it, together with full details of any oral or written warnings given, to the Secretary of the Commission. An indication should also be given to the Secretary of the Commission of the efforts made to assist and support the civil servant to achieve the required standard.
The submission of an adverse report by an Accounting Officer to the Secretary of the Commission must be viewed as a last resort when all the above procedures have been exhausted and have failed to bring about the required improvement. It follows that in all but the most serious cases, which the Accounting Officer must be able to justify, there should be warnings and an opportunity to improve. The only exception to this is where there is a sudden and unexpected deterioration in a civil servant's performance or the actual or potential consequences of single errors are so serious that the submission of an adverse report has to be contemplated even though the procedures have not been exhausted. Where this occurs, the Accounting Officer will be required to justify the submission of an adverse report to the Commission without exhausting the procedures.
Note: Regulation B51 is blank.
B52 – Procedure to be followed by the secretary of the Civil Service Commission on receipt of an adverse report
When an adverse report on a civil servant has been submitted to the Secretary of the Civil Service Commission, the Secretary shall arrange for the Commission to consider the report at the earliest date. The Commission should interview the civil servant allowing him the opportunity to explain the reasons for the sub-standard performance.
Having submitted the adverse report, the Accounting Officer will also be expected to attend the capability hearing. The Accounting Officer, however, may delegate this requirement to attend to a senior officer.
Last updated 14 May 2012 - Amendment No 09-034
B53 – The decision of the commission
After full investigation of all the circumstances the Commission shall determine whether:
a) the civil servant should be given a further period of not less than 3 months in which to demonstrate an improvement in his performance to bring it up to the standard required and warned that failure to do so will lead to the termination of his appointment
b) the civil servant should be made the subject of special confidential reports from his Accounting Officer to the Secretary of the Commission at monthly or quarterly intervals during the further period as a means of monitoring his performance more closely
c) the civil servant should continue to work in his present department or, if there is a suitable vacant post at his grade, be transferred to another department
d) the civil servant's performance is so seriously sub-standard in spite of warnings previously given that he is judged no longer to be able to discharge his duties efficiently because:
- his performance has deteriorated to an unacceptable standard or
- his frequent absences from work adversely affect the efficient running of the office, in which case his appointment should be terminated on grounds of inefficiency
B54 – Notification of the Commission's decision
B54 Notification of the Commission's decision
The Secretary of the Commission shall notify the civil servant in writing of its decision and, if it has decided to terminate his appointment in accordance with Regulation B53 (d), he shall advise the civil servant of his right of appeal.
Note: Regulation B55 is blank.
B56 – Notice
A civil servant who is prematurely retired on grounds of inefficiency shall be entitled to the minimum periods of notice set out in Regulation A20 to these Regulations except where he is on a fixed term contract in which case the provisions in the contract relating to notice will apply.
B57 – Appeals
A civil servant who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Commission to terminate his appointment may appeal against that decision to the Civil Service Appeal Tribunal in accordance with the Civil Service Appeals Rules 1992 at Annex B4.
Note: Regulations B58 to B59 are blank.