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Remote working, underpaid civil servants and the ‘constipated’ Irish civil service

The Global Government Forum’s weekly roundup of all the news you need to know but may have missed

Nearly half of US federal employees worked remotely in government fiscal year 2020

According to data released by the US federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, 45% of all US federal employees worked remotely at some point during its fiscal year 2020, which ran from October 2019 to the end of September 2020.

The data is published in the annual report on the status of telework in the federal government’s report to Congress but, as noted by OPM Director Kiran Ahuja, this latest publication is the first to cover the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, when many employees were instructed to work from home.

“Yet, just as federal employees have always done, they rose to the occasion and demonstrated their resilience,” she said. “Agencies performed their missions effectively, and federal employees continued to perform their jobs, at the highest level, from locations other than their usual duty station, apart from their managers, supervisors and co-workers.”

She said telecommuting and remote working were a “critical component of this success”, adding that “agencies have used teleworking as a strategic management tool to improve their ability to deliver critical results during an unprecedented time. “.

“Where appropriate, federal government agencies have expanded telecommuting to the extent possible to protect the health and safety of the federal workforce and the American people. Indeed, 90% of eligible federal employees participated in telecommuting – a significant increase from previous years.

The report was released as Ahuja also confirmed that full implementation of a skills-based recruiting reform in the US federal government would be delayed until the end of 2022. The reform requires US government agencies to hire candidates based on their skills and expertise in areas relevant to a position.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 18 changes in the senior ranks of the civil service, with four senior civil servants among those who changed departments.

Deputy minister moves – the equivalent role to permanent secretaries in the UK and departmental secretaries in Australia – include Graham Flack, former deputy minister for Employment and Social Development, who became secretary to the Treasury Board, the largest employer in the Canadian public service. servants, where he replaces the retired Peter Wallace.

Jean-François Tremblay, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, succeeded Flack as head of the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada, while John Hannaford, the Deputy Minister of International Trade before the changes, took over Place de Tremblay at Natural Resources Canada. . Bill Matthews, former Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, moved to the Department of National Defence.

You can read the changes in full here

Underpayments of Australian civil servants revealed

An Australian government department has underpaid its staff hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars for off-hours media monitoring work.

The Department of Social Services underpaid 67 staff, including ex-employees and ex-employees, according to documents released under freedom of information rules. Civil servants owed both overtime and meal allowances agreed in their EBA for a total of around A$400,000.

In a letter to the Australian Civil Service Commission, the department said staff were now properly paid and an external accounting firm had undertaken an independent review to determine the total amount of underpayments.

Former and current employees were to receive the underpayments as a lump sum by the end of April 2021, the letter said.

Sinn Fein leader hits out at ‘constipated’ civil service and civil service

The leader of Ireland’s main opposition party has said public sector officials need a “shock” to become more efficient.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mary Lou McDonald said that there is immense talent in public administration in the country, “but we have, in many ways, a system that is constipated, a system that is slow and a system that needs to be shaken up for more effective actions”.

Sinn Fein is leading in polls over who would form Ireland’s next government, and McDonald has set her sights on civil service reform if she becomes the country’s leader.

“I think that will be one of our biggest challenges if we have the opportunity to be in government. We are very clear that, systemically and in terms of the process of government and public policy, we have to focus very precisely on that and we have to speed things up.

McDonald pointed to issues such as slow health service recruitment and delays in planning capital projects as illustrating that the country has “not found the art of balancing efficiency and due diligence. “. She added: “We shouldn’t have to choose one or the other, we need both, because obviously when you’re dealing with public resources and systems, public funds, you have to be sure that you have the right responsibility, that the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, but things can take forever.

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