There are range of mechanisms available in the civil service for dealing with complaints from staff. The most appropriate mechanism depends on the specific nature of the complaint. My Department has both put in place and is actively introducing the following policies that apply across the Civil Service:
- The Positive Working Environment policy includes procedures for dealing with complaints from staff of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment;
- The Grievance Procedure is a process that seeks to deal with the complaints of individual members of staff;
In addition my Department is currently progressing the Protected Disclosures Bill 2013 through the Oireachtas and it is anticipated that the Bill will be enacted shortly. The Bill includes a provision requiring every public body to put in place internal procedures for dealing with protected disclosures made by workers who are or were employed by the body.
The Office of the Ombudsman examines complaints from members of the public who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public bodies, for example, government departments, local authorities, the HSE and publicly funded third level education bodies. As such, it is open to staff to bring complaints to the Ombudsman as members of the public and in their own private capacity in respect of issues where they perceive there have been failings in their dealings with public bodies.