As the Deputy will be aware there is currently a moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service. As an exception to the moratorium, the Department has been given a limited sanction, subject at all times to Employment Control Framework targets set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to fill critical vacancies by way of promotion in instances where all efforts to fill such vacancies by way of redeployment or transfer have been exhausted.
Competitions to establish appropriate promotional panels have been held in house, or run on behalf of the Department by the Public Appointments Service (PAS). In this regard, there are no direct costs incurred by the Department in relation to theses competitions. All competitions are conducted in accordance with the Code of Practice titled Appointment to Positions in the Civil Service and Public Service, published by the Commission for Public Service Appointments. A small number of complaints were received and they have been investigated in accordance with the Code of Practice. In all cases where investigations have been completed, the complaints have not been upheld.
On foot of arbitration findings relating to the transfer of the Community Welfare Service from the Health Service Executive and the Employment Support Service from FÁS to the Department, competitions to establish panels in respect of these staff are to be arranged. The panels to be established will run parallel to existing panels within the Department and will provide for promotions on a pro rata basis as agreed. In light of the number of potential candidates, it is expected that one of the competitions will be facilitated shortly in house while 3 other competitions will require the assistance of the Public Appointment Service (PAS). Suitable dates for the competitions are currently being arranged with PAS.
Following the expiry date of the existing panels it will be necessary to seek sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to hold any further competitions.