Following is the information requested by the Deputy.
Assistant Secretary Awards
Following recommendations made by the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector, schemes of performance-related awards were introduced for the levels of Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary in the Civil Service, as well as for the Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner ranks in the Garda Síochána and the ranks of Brigadier General and Major General in the Defence Forces.
The schemes of awards are based on performance by reference to demanding targets. The pool for performance awards is 10% of the pay bill for the group concerned. Within that overall limit individuals can receive payments of up to 20% of pay.
Following my announcement on 5 February 2009 relating to the discontinuation of the scheme for Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Secretary and related grades subject to consultation with the relevant Staff Associations, there is now no specific provision for payment under this scheme.
This scheme was the only full bonus scheme in operation in the Civil Service. The following arrangements which apply to other grades provide for reward for exceptional merit or effort in particular cases.
Special Service Payments
Principals and Assistant Principals have a separate scheme which arises as a result of the restructuring agreement for these grades under the Programme for Competitiveness and Work. It provides that 1% of payroll for these grades be made available in the form of Special Service Payments, for which staff are invited to apply, based on the following criteria:
contribution by the individual to the work of the Department in his/her job;
special demands of the job;
experience brought to the job.
19 staff members at Principal and Assistant Principal received special service payments for 2008 in the amount of €53,394.
27 staff members at Principal and Assistant Principal received special service payments for 2009 in the amount of €55,670.
52 staff members at Principal and Assistant Principal received seniority allowances during 2010 in the amount of €115,395.44.
In 1993, the then Minister for Finance sanctioned expenditure in respect of Merit Awards to individual staff members or groups of staff below Assistant Secretary level by way of recognition for exceptional performance of duty which was based on 0.1% of the salary allocation (as published in the Revised Estimates) in any one calendar year. This percentage was revised to 0.2% in 1998.
An independent committee administers the Merit Awards scheme up to AO/HEO level; an Assistant Secretary group administers the Awards at Assistant Principal and Principal level. Nominees for the annual Merit Awards must, during the year, have demonstrated one or more of the following criteria:
given an exceptional performance in some aspect of his/her work;
demonstrated unusual commitment and dedication to some aspect of his/her work;
made a notable contribution to the successful achievement of the section's targets.
In March 2009, it was decided in light of the budgetary position, to suspend the merit award scheme.
Staff Suggestion Scheme
The Departmental Partnership Committee (DPC) agreed to the reactivation of the Staff Suggestion Scheme within the Department of Finance on a trial basis for 2 years. The revised scheme came into effect on 1 April 2009. The purpose of the Scheme is to facilitate and encourage the submission of suggestions by eligible staff aimed at improving Department of Finance operations/efficiency.
One staff member (Clerical Officer) was awarded €500 to be paid in two annual instalments of €250. The savings accruing to the Department exceeded the cost of the reward.
Ex-gratia payments are made in a number of situations which are outside the remit of the schemes already mentioned.
Two staff members received ex-gratia payments during 2010 as follows:
A Higher Executive Officer for her work in recovering outstanding money due to the Department was awarded €1,000. Following this, new monitoring and control measures have been put in place to ensure the situation does not recur.
A Clerical Officer who worked over and above her normal duties following the resignation of her supervisor was awarded €500.