No decision has been made to recruit eight additional full-time Principal Development Specialists in my Department.
In November 2019 following engagement between the management and staff sides an agreement was reached to restructure the Development Specialist grades in my Department. As part of that agreement, the Principal Development Specialist (PDS) and Senior Development Specialist (SDS) grades will be phased out with no further recruitment planned for these positions. The existing Development Specialist grade will be maintained.
The restructuring agreement introduces two new grades alongside the Development Specialist grade: a Counsellor (Development) grade, equivalent to the existing Counsellor grade and paid on the Principal Officer pays-cale; and a Development Specialist Officer grade, equivalent to the Third Secretary grade and paid on the Administrative Officer pay-scale.
To date, three Counsellor (Development) positions were appointed to fill existing vacancies following a competition. As these posts filled vacancies no additional budgetary costs were incurred.