The Civil Service Renewal Plan was launched in October 2014 which committed to a significant programme of reform across the Civil Service. The plan included 25 headline actions with each of the actions at various stages of implementation and delivery. The implementation of the Civil Service Renewal Plan has been carried out on a phased basis: the first phase of implementation focused on establishing governance structures, creating momentum and initiating a number of actions; the second phase successfully translated this progress into tangible results; the third phase focused on actions that directly impacted on staff, enhancing the capability of all civil servants and supporting the development a high performing and more accountable workforce; and the current phase is focused on continuing to consolidate, deepen and embed the actions of the Civil Service Renewal Plan across all Departments/Offices.
Significant progress has been made in delivering this ambitious programme of reform and significant achievements include:
- The establishment of the Civil Service Management Board which has collective responsibility for the delivering the actions in the Civil Service Renewal Plan.
- The development of a Common Governance Standard for the Civil Service.
- Further implementation of the Shared Services Programme; the Public Service ICT Strategy and Government Communications Programme.
- The Civil Service People Strategy was launched in October 2017, setting the strategic direction for Human Resource Management across the Civil Service while also recognising that each organisation is unique and has its own challenges.
- Open recruitment competitions have been held for a wide range of general service, professional and technical grades.
- A wide range of initiatives to improve gender balance across the Civil Service have been developed and are being implemented within Departments and Offices. These include an action plan to improve gender balance at senior levels.
- OneLearning has been established to centrally operate and maintain the new L&D model and to manage the delivery the new common suite of L&D programmes.
- Introduction of structured and transparent talent management programmes to develop future leaders.
- A more effective and simplified performance management system (PMDS) has been delivered, including training for almost 10,000 line managers to support and improve the management of performance.
- A new scheme for recognising innovation and excellence across the Civil Service was introduced in 2015 through the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate the significant contributions that civil servants make to the Civil Service and recognise innovations in policy and service delivery across the Civil Service.
- An approach to professionalisation has been agreed in the areas of HR, ICT and Finance, with most progress made in the HR area.
- A new Civil Service-wide mobility scheme has been introduced for Clerical Officers and Executive Officers which will be extended to other grades up to Assistant Principal level in due course.
- A standardised project management approach has been introduced and supported with the establishment of a Project Managers’ Network and training from OneLearning.
- A new system of Organisational Capability Reviews to assess and strengthen performance and capacity across Departments is being implemented
- Guidelines and a handbook in relation to the transfer of functions has been published to assist in implementing Government Decisions to establish new Departments or restructuring of existing Departments.
- Significant progress in relation to the development of a National Data Infrastructure.
- Organisation of two Civil Service Employee Engagement Surveys to date which asks civil servants for their views on working in the Civil Service, focusing on areas such as employee engagement, well-being, coping with change and commitment to the organisation. Departments/Offices are tasked with responding to the challenging areas arising from the findings.
Three progress reports have been published on the plan to date and are available on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. A final summary progress report which captures the progress made since the plan commenced will be published shortly.
In terms of performance management in the Civil Service, there are performance management systems in place for all civil servants, which encompass setting objectives and review of performance.