Executive Summary by HC120916004530

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                                     Executive Summary

     Introduction
     This report was commissioned by the Equality Unit of the Department of Finance, at the request of
     the Disability Sub-Committee of the General Council, to examine the issue of career progression of
     people with a disability in the Irish Civil Service.

     The study upon which it is based had the following objectives:

         To assess the impact of current policy on the recruitment, retention and career progression of
          people with a disability within the Civil Service;
         To develop a clear understanding of the current position of people with a disability in the Civil
          Service and of their views on working within the service;
         To ascertain the views and attitudes of the main body of civil servants in relation to the
          employment and promotion of people with a disability;
         To support the development of a new model of good practice in this area for the future.

     The research takes place in the context of an evolving policy and legislative environment on
     equality in Ireland and the conclusions and recommendations in this report have sought to take
     account of this new environment.

     Methodology
     The methodology used in this study provides the Department of Finance and the General Council
     with scientifically based research on the experience of people with a disability working within the
     Civil Service. The study concentrated on general service grades.

     Many elements of the study covered the Civil Service as a whole – The Personnel Officers survey,
     the survey of staff with a disability, and the statistical analysis of the CEN-SIS database. However,
     in order to best use the resources available for the study, while also ensuring that the research
     results are broadly representative of the Civil Service as a whole, some key elements of the research
     concentrated on five specific Departments. These Departments were:

     -    the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs;
     -    the Revenue Commissioners;
     -    the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment;
     -    the Department of Health and Children; and
     -    the Central Statistics Office.

     The study comprised the following key elements:

     1.       Key Informant Interviews

              Representatives of the social partners, relevant state agencies and representatives of
              disability organisations were interviewed and their views were used to inform the other
              elements of the study.


     2.       Review of Policy and Procedures

              Relevant policies and procedures as applied in the Irish Civil Service, the wider public
              service, and within the private sector were reviewed in order to explore ‘good practice’




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             initiatives in other areas. The evolving legislative framework in Ireland in the area of
             equality, and the different approaches to this issue in other countries were also examined.

     3.      Survey of Personnel Officers and In-depth Policy Review

             A detailed questionnaire was completed by Personnel Officers in each Government
             Department/Office. The questionnaire was designed to seek information on the current
             number of people with a disability working in the Civil Service, the current data collection
             systems on people with a disability, and the views of the Personnel Officers on the
             employment and career progression of people with a disability. These views were further
             explored through in-depth interviews with Personnel Officers in the selected five
             Departments/Offices.

     4.      Cohort Analysis

             A cohort analysis was undertaken on people who entered the Civil Service through
             confined competitions for people with a disability and those who joined through open
             competitions. The objective of this analysis was to give an indication of any differences in
             the career progression patterns of the two groups.

     5.      Staff Survey

             A random stratified sample of civil servants in the five selected Departments was surveyed
             using a structured questionnaire. Respondents included civil servants with and without a
             disability. The questionnaire sought information on the career history, current
             employment, and also the views and attitudes of all civil servants towards working with
             people with a disability. A separate section, for completion by people with a disability, was
             also included. This section was designed to explore specific issues affecting the work and
             career experience of civil servants with a disability.

     6.      Voluntary Survey of People with a Disability and Focus Group Session

             Given the small number of civil servants with a disability in the five Departments
             surveyed, coupled with the desire to ensure that all civil servants with a disability had an
             opportunity to contribute to the study, a second questionnaire was designed, to be
             completed on a voluntary basis by any civil servant with a disability. This questionnaire
             was circulated through all Departments and completed questionnaires were returned
             anonymously. In addition, in order to explore in more depth the type of issues that arose
             in these surveys, a Focus Group meeting of civil servants with a disability was held.




     7.      Presentation of Conclusions and Recommendations

             The conclusions and recommendations, based on the above research, are presented to form
             the basis for the development of new Code of Practice for the employment and career
             progression of civil servants with a disability. Recommendations on the specific steps
             required to implement, monitor and evaluate progress are also made.

     Study Findings

     The main findings from the study indicate that the issue of career progression for people with a
     disability within the Civil Service is a complex one. This complexity was found to relate primarily
     to the diverse nature and range of disabilities involved and also to the method of entry into the
     service. The key findings of the study are:



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     Review of Policy and Procedures

     An integral part of the public sector modernisation programme is the commitment to provide all
     civil servants with equality of opportunity in recruitment, conditions of work, training,
     development and promotion practices. Delivering Better Government (1996) highlights the
     responsibility of the Civil Service to prove itself a model employer in this regard. This approach
     was given statutory backing in the 1998 Employment Equality Act, which precludes discrimination in
     the workplace on the basis of nine grounds, including disability.

     In addition to anti-discrimination legislation, the Civil Service further promotes the employment of
     people with a disability through a range of positive action measures. These include a 3%
     employment target and a Code of Practice in relation to the employment of civil servants with a
     disability. A service wide policy on equality of opportunity (Diversity in the Civil Service) has
     recently been introduced. It is intended that this policy will encourage, as good practice, procedures
     developed by Departments to ensure the full participation by staff with a disability in all aspects of
     working life.

     An international review of policies and procedures revealed two general approaches to the
     employment of people with a disability. In Western Europe, employment policy is generally based
     around ‘quota’ systems, whereby employers in both the public and private sectors are obliged to
     employ certain proportions of people with a disability. The second approach, as practised in the
     USA, Canada and Australia, seeks to encourage the employment of people with a disability through
     an emphasis on equality of opportunity and persuasion measures.

     In Ireland, the existence of anti-discrimination legislation, an employment target within the public
     sector, plus a range of positive action measures and supports aimed at encouraging private sector
     employers to recruit people with a disability, would appear to place us somewhere in the middle of
     what traditionally might be regarded as liberal and social democratic approaches to the
     employment of people with a disability.




     Survey of Personnel Officers and In-depth Policy Review

     The survey of Personnel Officers indicated that approximately 800 people with a disability are
     recorded as employed in the Irish Civil Service. This represents 2.7 per cent of all civil servants.
     Almost a third of these had a physical impairment and a further 25 per cent had a sensory
     disability.

     This survey also revealed that currently there is no consistent form of data capture, storage or
     updating of information on civil servants with a disability across government Departments/Offices.
     In addition, it is not clear whether all staff recorded as having a disability are aware that they are
     listed as having a disability.

     A number of practical steps have been taken to implement the 1994 Code of Practice. These include
     improvements in physical infrastructure; installation of special facilities; appointment of Disability
     Liaison Officers; availability of flexible working arrangements; and provision of special
     equipment/services for staff with a disability.

     All Personnel Officers interviewed expressed dissatisfaction with regard to the lack of information
     being provided by the Office of the Civil Service and Local Appointments Commission (OCSCLAC)
     prior to placing a new recruit with a disability within their Department. They called for action to
     increase the level of transparency and dialogue in this area in the future. Such an approach, it was



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           considered, would improve the job placement experience of civil servants with a disability and help
           ensure that any support needs are addressed promptly.

           Most Personnel Officers appear to be satisfied with the job performance of staff with a disability.
           However, some Personnel Officers expressed concern regarding the ability of some staff recruited
           through confined competitions for people with a disability to perform their job to a satisfactory
           level.

           Proposed actions to improve the recruitment, employment and career progression of civil servants
           with a disability focussed on: better job matching, greater flexibility in designing positions for staff
           with a disability, more opportunities for staff mobility, a greater commitment by managers to the
           issue, more disability awareness training, and provision of better access to relevant education and
           training,

           Cohort Analysis

           The cohort analysis revealed that no civil servant who entered the Civil Service at Clerical
           Assistant level through a competition confined to people with a disability has to date progressed
           beyond Executive Officer level. This compares with 9 per cent of people without a disability. The
           analysis also indicated that longer serving civil servants with a disability have progressed more
           slowly than their counterparts without a disability.

           Interestingly, the analysis also revealed that civil servants who entered through confined
           competitions have a higher retention rate in the service compared to those that entered through
           other routes.




           Staff Survey

           The staff survey relied on civil servants to self-declare their disability. This resulted in a higher
           proportion of people being recorded as having a disability than that reported in the Personnel
           Officers survey (7 per cent compared to 2.7 per cent)1.

           The staff survey revealed that:

           -    Two-thirds of civil servants with a disability are currently working at Clerical Officer level
                compared to less than half of those without a disability;
           -    Almost a third of civil servants with a disability have a physical disability, 20 per cent have a
                sensory disability, and a further 30 per cent have a disability defined in the ‘other’ category e.g.
                asthma or epilepsy;
           -    One-third have acquired their disability since joining the Civil Service;
           -    Over three-quarters of civil servants with a disability entered the service through an open
                competition;
           -    Civil servants with a disability have a lower level of educational attainment on joining the Civil
                Service;
           -    However, one third of civil servants with a disability are currently studying for a degree or post-
                graduate degree, compared to 18 per cent of civil servants without a disability;

           The following key issues emerged from the survey specifically in relation to career progression:




1The percentage from the Personnel Officers survey refers to the total Civil Service, whereas the staff survey only includes general
service grades.



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            -     No-one with a disability who joined the service through confined competitions has progressed
                  beyond Higher Executive level;
            -     The entry grade of civil servants with a disability has affected their career progression. In
                  particular, a very high proportion of civil servants with a disability who joined the service at
                  CA level have not advanced beyond CO level; 2
            -     Civil servants with a disability experience less job mobility in comparison to those without a
                  disability; and
            -     A poor sick leave record is considered to be an important factor in limiting the career
                  progression opportunities of staff with a disability.

            However a number of positive factors also emerged regarding career progression:

            -     Civil servants with a disability are to be found at all levels of the service and in all areas of
                  work;
            -     A similar proportion of civil servants with and without a disability are applying for promotion;
            -     There are few differences in the career aspirations of civil servants with and without a
                  disability and;
            -     Over two-thirds of civil servants have worked with someone with a disability.

        The main differences in the attitudes and views of people with and without a disability were found to
        be as follows:

        -       Civil servants with a disability are more dissatisfied with current promotional procedures and more
                pessimistic about future promotional prospects than those without.
        -       Civil servants without a disability consider that the lack of general career progression
                opportunities for people with a disability is due primarily to unsuitable working conditions and
                inaccessible offices. However, civil servants with a disability attribute this situation in the main
                to lack of access to education and training and to insufficient support from their managers;
        -       Civil servants with a disability believe that a more active policy approach, involving special promotion
                competitions and higher entry levels for people with a disability, are required.

            The main areas of similarities regarding the attitude of civil servants with and without a disability
            were found to be the following:

            -     Both groups agree that the main obstacle to equality in promotional opportunities is the
                  perception that people with a disability cannot work at a higher level;
            -     Both groups also agree that managers should give more encouragement and support to staff
                  with a disability.

            Civil servants who have acquired their disability since joining the Civil Service consider that they
            now have less opportunities for promotion.


            Voluntary Survey of People with a Disability and Focus Group Session

            The Voluntary survey, confined to staff with a disability, provides strong evidence that the method
            of entry into the Civil Service and the type of disability are key influences on subsequent career
            progression.

            Civil Servants with a disability who entered through confined competitions are more likely to:

            -     have entered at a lower grade;
            -     be in a lower grade;

2As a result of a restructing agreement the CA grade no longer operates within the Civil Service. Existing CAs have been regraded to
COs.



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     -   have a lower level of education qualifications;
     -   have shorter service; and
     -   have a sensory disability

     in comparison to people with a disability entering through open competitions.

     Thus, while special entry competitions for people with a disability have been found to have had
     positive benefits in terms of entering employment in the Civil Service, such entry routes appear to
     act as a barrier to future progression. This is likely to be due to a range of factors: those who
     entered the Civil Service through confined competitions tend to have lower education
     qualifications, to have entered the service, and remained at, lower grades, to have a higher need for
     assistive technology, and to have had less success in promotion competitions. A sub-group of civil
     servants with a disability were found to have never applied for promotion.

     While the majority of respondents to the voluntary survey consider that their disability has not
     negatively impacted on their current work, a significant minority state that they have difficulties
     with aspects of their work due to their disability, and need additional work-related supports. These
     supports include, access to assistive technology, additional support from management, and
     increased accessibility of offices and other buildings. The findings also indicate that the current
     Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) role is not effective. Two-thirds of survey respondents did not
     know of the DLO in their Department.

     The importance of management awareness and positive attitudes to disability were highlighted in
     the survey, and by participants in the focus group. Support from managers and evidence of greater
     management awareness of the nature of respondents’ disability were cited as key factors in
     encouraging respondents to apply for promotion in the future.

     In addition, the following views emerged from the focus group meeting:

     -   A large proportion of Government Departments are not fully accessible and are badly laid out;
     -   The employment target should be retained as it helps to ensure that some people with a
         disability enter the service;
     -   The role of the DLO is underdeveloped and needs to be strengthened;
     -   More disability awareness training is required for DLOs and members of interview panels; and
     -   The sick leave regulations are too restrictive and are not applied consistently across
         Departments.




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     Conclusions
     The key conclusions arising from the study are presented below. These conclusions focus on the
     recruitment, placement, career progression and related supports required to ensure that people
     with a disability have access to the same opportunities as those without a disability within the Irish
     Civil Service.

     General Comment

     The issue of employment and career progression of people with a disability within the Civil Service
     is a complex one, requiring a range of policy and procedural responses. This complexity relates to a
     number of factors, most importantly the diverse nature and range of disabilities concerned, as well
     as the entry route used to obtain employment within the service.

     Creating a Positive Environment

     Given recent and planned developments in equality legislation, and related commitments to
     positive action for groups experiencing disadvantage in the labour market, new policies and
     procedures in the area of employment and career progression for people with a disability in the
     Civil Service are required. Such policies and procedures should aim to develop a new culture within
     which people with a disability feel confident to be open about their disability in the knowledge that
     such openness will lead to greater and more relevant supports being provided, rather than to any
     form of discrimination. This in turn should facilitate the gradual adoption of a system of self-
     disclosure for monitoring and review purposes.

     Recruitment and Placement

     The employment target has supported the recruitment of people with a disability into the Civil
     Service. However such staff have generally remained at lower levels than other civil servants.
     Actions are required to improve the procedures for placing new recruits with a disability within the
     service.

     Employment

     While the majority of civil servants with a disability are employed at lower grades, a significant
     number are to be found at higher levels. Such civil servants can play an important role as role
     models/ mentors for those at lower levels.

     In effect a range of initiatives are required to increase the opportunities available for staff with a
     disability to assist them to access greater job mobility and wider work experience.

     Career Progression

     While a similar proportion of civil servants with and without a disability are: applying for
     promotion; desire career advancement; and are availing of opportunities for such career
     advancement, there does appear to be a sub-group of civil servants with a disability who have never
     applied or achieved promotion. These civil servants are most likely to have entered through a
     confined competition or to have a specific type of disability. This group requires an integrated
     range of special supports/encouragement if they are to be given a real opportunity to progress
     their careers.

     Civil servants with a disability would achieve greater career progression if they had better access to
     relevant education and training, more opportunity for job mobility and greater support from their
     managers. More widespread disability awareness training would also improve career opportunities
     for such staff.




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     Sick Leave

     Current sick leave regulations are seen to be a key issue in limiting the career progression
     opportunities of civil servants with a disability. The following issues emerged from the study:

        the perceived inconsistencies in the way the current guidelines are being applied;
        the lack of clarity regarding how disability-related and non-disability-related sick leave is dealt
         with in relation to eligibility for promotion;
        the lack of available information in relation to how, and in what circumstances, a certain
         amount of flexibility is allowed in this area in relation to the ‘56 days in 4 years’ ruling;
        the bluntness of a policy based on ‘56 days sick leave in 4 years’ without any allowance for
         differences in terms of whether such a pattern of sick leave occurs every year or all in one
         year;
        the lack of clarity regarding how decisions are made by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on
         the likelihood of such leave re-occurring or not re-occurring; and
        the inconsistency of an approach that accepts the sick leave requirements of a person with a
         disability at recruitment stage but not when considering their suitability for promotion or
         mobility.

     Monitoring Arrangements

     Changes in the recording systems used in Government Departments and Offices are urgently
     required in order to improve accuracy and consistency of reporting on progress made and in
     monitoring employment trends among civil servants with a disability. A move towards self-
     disclosure using an agreed format, backed up by a more positive attitude towards such disclosure, is
     urgently required.

     Accessibility and Provision of Specialist Supports

     Full accessibility of all Civil Service buildings to people with a disability should be a key and highly
     visible element of any new policy for the employment and career progression of civil servants with
     a disability. All support needs of civil servants with a disability should be speedily identified and
     met wherever possible.

     The Civil Service as Employer

     Civil servants with a disability who entered through confined competitions tend to have a higher
     retention rate than civil servants as a whole. In addition, two-thirds of those who responded to the
     voluntary survey express themselves as happy with their present jobs. This indicates a reasonably
     high level of satisfaction among people with a disability with their employment within the Civil
     Service. These positive views can be built upon in the future with the aim of developing the Civil
     Service as a model employer in this area.

     General Changes in Policies and Procedures within the Civil Service

     General developments within the Civil Service, particularly in relation to Performance
     Management Development Systems (PMDS), can provide a positive climate within which to
     introduce the type of policy and procedural changes required in the area of disability. In addition,
     the new Civil Service Diversity Policy provides a useful framework within which improvements in
     policies and procedures for the employment and career progression of people with a disability can
     be framed.

     Recommendations



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     Introduction

     Key recommendations in relation to the employment and career progression of people with a
     disability within the Civil Service are presented below. These recommendations are made in the
     context of the general equality policy and related procedures operating within the Civil Service, as
     reflected in the new Diversity Policy. They also take into account developments occurring in
     relation to the Strategic Management Initiative (SMI).

     All recommendations are made with a view to ensuring that the full potential of civil servants with
     a disability, both currently and in the future, is realised, to the benefit of the civil servants
     concerned, their colleagues and managers, and to the wider public that they serve.

     The recommendations are grouped under three headings as follows:

        Policies and Procedures for the Recruitment, Placement and Career Progression of Civil
         Servants with a Disability;
        Support Needs of Civil Servants with a Disability; and
        Monitoring Progress.


     Policies and Procedures for the Recruitment, Placement and Career Progression of
     Civil Servants with a Disability

     Development of a New Code of Practice

     A New Code of Practice for the employment and career progression of people with a disability in the
     Civil Service should be developed, based on the recommendations presented below. This work
     should come under the remit of the Equality Unit, Department of Finance, supported by the
     Disability Committee of General Council. The code should be based on agreed ‘principles’ that start
     from the position that people with a disability have the potential to contribute equally to business
     objectives, and that the positive management of disability issues is good human resource
     development (HRD) and good management practice.

     The new Code of Practice should emphasise implementation arrangements and plans for
     monitoring progress. Quantitative objectives and milestones should be agreed and monitored.
     While the Equality Unit and the Disability Liaison Officers obviously have a key role to play here,
     the ultimate responsibility for implementation will rest with the line Departments and with
     individual line managers, supported by their Human Resource function. The proposed new Code of
     Practice should form a central element of the Human Resource Management (HRM) strategies and
     related performance management and development systems currently being developed and
     implemented in each government Department. The experience gained in developing and
     implementing the Gender Equality Policy has the potential to provide useful learning points for the
     Disability area.

     Creating the Right Environment

     The recommendations made in this study, aimed at increasing the representation of people with a
     disability at all levels within the service, can only be achieved if a positive culture exists. This
     culture should be one in which the inclusion, integration and advancement of people with a
     disability within the service is considered to be the norm. All civil servants, supported by relevant
     training and expert advice, have a role to play in creating such a culture.

     The overall aim for the Civil Service should be to become a model employer for people with a
     disability in Ireland.




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     Definition

     The definition in the current code of practice for ‘people with disabilities’ needs to be reviewed and
     updated in the light of recent developments in equality legislation, policy and practice. It is also
     important that the different types of disabilities, particularly so-called ‘hidden disabilities’, are
     incorporated into the new definition.

     There are currently a number of different definitions in use within the public policy arena. Any
     definition to be included in a new code of practice for the recruitment, employment and career
     progression of people with a disability within the civil service should move away from defining
     disability in overly ‘medical’ terms and towards a definition that is more relevant to the particular
     issues surrounding the employment of people with a disability. 3

     The new definition should cover all civil servants who experience “a substantial restriction in their
     capacity to work due to an enduring physical, sensory, learning, mental health or emotional
     impairment”.

     Such a definition should thus focus on optimising the employability (including issues relating to the
     placement, mobility and progression) of people with a disability, as defined above, through meeting
     all reasonable support needs of the individual civil servants concerned. It should also place the onus
     on managers and others within the service to create the type of environment that is supportive of
     the employment and career progression of people with a disability.

     Disability Targets

     The study has shown that, while a certain proportion of civil servants with a disability enter
     through confined competitions, the majority enter through open competitions, or else acquire their
     disability while in employment. Overall the study results indicate that 7 per cent of civil servants
     define themselves as having a disability, including those that have acquired a disability since
     joining the service. Given these findings, the new code of practice should move to the adoption of a
     recruitment, rather than an employment target for people with a disability. Such a target would
     provide a more meaningful basis for monitoring the extent to which the civil service is achieving its
     commitment to the recruitment, retention and promotion of people with a disability. It is
     recommended that a 3 per cent recruitment target for people with a disability in all recruitment
     competitions should be set.

     The extent to which this target is achieved should be monitored on a regular basis, along with the
     impact of this target on employment levels and on career progression of people with a disability in
     each Department/Office. Consideration should be given to establishing a promotion target if the
     results of monitoring employment trends within the service indicate that people with a disability
     remain disproportionately concentrated at the lower grades.

     Self-Disclosure

     In monitoring progress achieved in reaching agreed targets it is recommended that a move be
     made toward voluntary self-disclosure of a disability, at the recruitment stage, and also when
     monitoring trends in the employment and career progression of people with a disability. Central to
     such an approach is the development of a culture that encourages and supports all staff with a
     disability, and their managers, to actively work together to ensure that such staff have the supports
     they require. The aim should be to ensure that similar opportunities for job mobility and
     promotion are available to all staff, regardless of whether or not they have a disability.

     Recruitment

     3
      If and when a culture that is conducive to self-disclosure is created, the benefits of developing a register of civil servants
     with a disability should be considered. This would be very useful from a monitoring and health and safety perspective.



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     All Civil Service recruitment processes should aim to attract applicants from as many suitable
     women and men with a disability as possible. Hence, all external and internal recruitment
     competitions, at each relevant grade should actively promote applications from people with a
     disability. This should involve liaison with FÁS, the National Disability Authority (NDA) and
     relevant disability-based organisations.

     Recruitment into the Civil Service, regardless of disability status, should continue to be based on
     the normal selection criteria and educational standards, and new recruits should be expected to
     perform to the standard required for the job. In relation specifically to people with a disability, the
     focus should be on the provision of the necessary supports that will enable such staff to perform
     their assigned job to the standard required.

     A special competition for people with a disability at EO and AO level should be piloted with the
     aim of achieving an initial boost to the number of people with a disability working at these levels
     and above within the service.

     The confined competition for people with a disability at CO level should remain in place for the
     present but should be reviewed if significant progress is made in recruiting a greater number of
     people with a disability through open competitions. Such a move would be in line with
     mainstreaming objectives and would take into account the finding that while such confined
     competitions in the past have supported the recruitment of people with a disability, such staff tend
     to experience greater difficulties in achieving promotion and job mobility.

     If, as part of SMI, recruitment to the Civil Service is opened up to other agents, safeguards must be
     put in place to ensure that procedures used for the recruitment of people with a disability are fair
     and transparent. If this occurs, a Code of Practice for recruitment policies and procedures, in
     relation to people with a disability, should be developed by the OCSCLAC and approved by the
     Department of Finance.

     The potential for decentralised recruitment should also be explored, with particular reference to
     encouraging applications from people with a disability who may be more inclined to apply for a
     post in the Civil Service if the location of such a post is known in advance.

     Placement

     All successful applicants from both internal and external competitions should be given the
     opportunity to provide information, on a voluntary basis, in relation to any special needs they may
     have due to a disability. They should be offered the opportunity to come in and discuss their needs
     with a representative of OCSCLAC and of their assigned Department, in advance of their
     placement. Based on this discussion, a suitable job profile should be agreed and any necessary
     supports put in place before the new recruit commences employment in the designated
     Department.

     The proposed new Code of Practice should spell out the respective roles of OCSCLAC and the
     Chief Medical Officer in assigning people with a disability to particular posts. It should clearly
     identify and define the issues which have been taken into account in the placement of a particular
     applicant with a disability. Provision should also be made to review the situation following a
     suitable time period in the job. The outcome of any such deliberations should be made available to
     the staff member concerned if so requested.

     The positive benefits of health screening all applicants with a known disability, particularly given
     the proposed move towards self-declaration of a disability, needs to be clearly spelt out to all
     applicants with a disability. Such benefits include the likelihood of a more suitable placement and
     the speedy provision of the relevant supports required to carry out their assigned job.

     Role and Job Profiling



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     Under PMDS, departmental job profiling is increasingly being used as a basis for assessing job
     requirements and as a means of identifying the training and development needs of individuals
     occupying specific jobs. A key element in the successful placing of people with a disability in their
     assigned Department will be to review such job profiles and to develop customised role profiles
     wherever possible. Performance should then be assessed against the agreed profile.

     As it develops, PMDS should be designed and implemented in such a way that it fully takes into
     account the particular issues that may arise in relation to the mobility and career progression of
     civil servants with a disability.


     Reception and Integration

     The existing induction programme for all new recruits should include a special module on
     disability related issues. This module should be developed by experienced personnel with a sound
     knowledge of both employment-related disability issues, and of relevant policies and procedures
     operating within the Civil Service.

     Consideration should also be given to the development and introduction of a separate and
     additional cross-service induction programme for people with a disability. This would be open to
     all and would be attended on a voluntary basis. The aim of this programme would be to provide up-
     to-date information on relevant procedures and supports available for people with a disability. It
     would also form the basis for the development of networks of people with a disability within the
     service. Established civil servants with a disability at all levels within the service should be
     encouraged to take an active part in the delivery of this programme and to begin the process of
     acting as potential mentors/ role models for new recruits with a disability.

     Job Mobility

     There is some evidence that civil servants with a disability, along with other specific groups such as
     women, face particular difficulties in gaining the necessary experience required to enhance their
     promotion prospects. This appears to be due in part to such civil servants being offered less
     opportunity for movement, and also to the concerns many civil servants with a disability have that
     the particular supports that they require may not be available in a new post. Every effort should be
     made to address these concerns and to ensure that civil servants with a disability have equal access
     to job mobility as other civil servants.

     Career Development and Promotion

     All civil servants with a disability should be provided, to the greatest extent possible, with the
     opportunity to acquire the skills and experience necessary to advance their careers. To assist in
     achieving this objective, the following actions should be taken:

     -   All civil servants with a disability should have the same access as those without a disability to
         the type of job placements, and opportunities for job mobility, that are known to enhance
         promotion prospects;
     -   All civil servants involved in decisions relating to promotion should receive disability
         awareness training, including those involved in the assessment of applicants, as well as those
         participating on interview panels;
     -   Special supports should be made available to encourage civil servants with a disability to apply
         for promotion where it is identified that they are not currently doing so due to their disability.
         This should include access to relevant education, training and work experience, provision of
         mentoring, interviewing techniques training etc;
     -   Civil servants with a disability, especially those who enter through confined competitions,
         should be encouraged by their line managers and the Disability Liaison Officer, to undertake



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         any additional education and training required to ‘become eligible’ for promotion to higher
         levels within the service;
     -   Civil servants with a disability who have applied for and achieved promotion should be
         encouraged to act as role models for their colleagues;
     -   The career progression experience of civil servants who entered through confined
         competitions should be the subject of a special review, to be carried out initially at central
         level, aimed at identifying specific issues in this area and proposing workable solutions to the
         problems identified. Similar reviews should then be carried out at Departmental level at
         regular intervals;
     -   The work and career aspirations, and related concerns, of civil servants with
         emotional/psychological difficulties should be given special attention, with a view to ensuring
         that the particular needs of this group are identified and addressed in a sensitive and
         confidential manner and that any existing misconceptions in this area are addressed; and,
     -   In cases where the nature of a specific disability is perceived by the manager concerned to
         seriously limit the potential promotion opportunities open to an individual civil servant, this
         situation should be fully discussed with the person concerned and other types of development
         opportunities should be identified and actively pursued.

     Sick Leave Regulations

     The impact of sick leave on the promotion opportunities available to civil servants with a disability
     has been highlighted as a key area of concern for such staff in this study. This is obviously a very
     complex and difficult area of policy in the Civil Service. The following are recommended:

     (a) clearer guidelines be drawn up and circulated in relation to how the current policies and
         procedures are being applied;
     (b) an independent appeal system be introduced; and
     (c) consideration be given to waiving the guidelines in situations where a certain level of
         disability-related sick-leave was accepted at recruitment stage and where the specific disability
         does not interfere in any other way with the carrying out of the new post.

     Awareness Raising

     Every effort should be made to raise awareness of the issues highlighted in this study among the
     general population of civil servants. Relevant training and other vehicles for raising awareness
     should be utilised to the full. The aim of such training should be to increase understanding and to
     eradicate any misperceptions that exist in relation to the impact of a disability on work
     performance and career progression.

     In the current climate of mainstreaming, such awareness raising should assist in ensuring that all
     new human resource development and related policies overtly identify, and take into account, the
     implications of such policies on civil servants with a disability.

     All programmes being organised by Training Officers should actively consider the benefits of
     including relevant information/training on issues relating to the employment and career
     progression of civil servants with a disability.

     Support Needs of Civil Servants with a Disability

     Physical Access
     All necessary action should be taken to ensure that the physical access targets set out in the
     Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, 2000 are met. Broader access issues should also be
     addressed, including access to technology and to flexible working arrangements, with the aim of



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     ensuring that the needs and requirements of people with a disability are fully taken into account
     when developing, implementing and reviewing new policies and procedures in these areas.

     Reasonable Accommodation

     All legal obligations in relation to ‘reasonable accommodation’ must be met within the Civil
     Service. The situation in each Department should be monitored on a regular basis and reports on
     progress made. Such reports should highlight good practice and identify any remaining issues of
     concern.

     An audit of the current access situation in all public service offices is being carried out by the OPW
     and should be published. This audit should form the basis for a plan of action to address
     outstanding issues across the service.

     Other Work-Related Supports

     Given the level of unmet support needs identified in this study there would appear to be a
     requirement for a regular audit of the disability-related support needs of civil servants. When
     collecting information on numbers with a disability in the service, using self-disclosure, civil
     servants should also be asked about their support needs, and in particular about any unmet needs.
     Such unmet needs so identified should be immediately addressed by the line manager concerned,
     with the support of the DLO. Any related resource problems should be identified through this
     process and a way of addressing such problems agreed, including the possible introduction of a
     Departmental budget line, where necessary.

     The kind of supports required by civil servants with a disability will depend on the type and level
     of disability in question. This study indicates that civil servants with sensory, physical, mental
     health and so-called ‘hidden disabilities’ have different needs and concerns and may require
     different types of supports. Supervisors and managers, assisted by the Disability Liaison Officer,
     should increasingly have responsibility for exploring these issues on an individual needs basis.

     Health and Safety

     All Health and Safety procedures should be reviewed to ensure that they conform with legislation,
     specifically in relation to issues affecting employees with a disability. All Departments should have
     written regulations regarding the Department’s duty of care to staff with a disability, as required
     under health and safety regulations, and on how such staff are to be assisted in the case of an
     emergency (e.g. staff with limited physical mobility, staff with sensory loss).




     The Role of Disability Liaison Officers

     The role of the Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) should be reviewed and a new standard job
     description agreed. DLOs should be a separate and distinct function from that of Employee
     Assistance Officers, but should have similar reporting arrangements.

     Disability Liaison Officers should be given the time, resources and HR support to develop their
     role as a source of key confidential support for people with a disability within the service.

     DLOs should be trained to fulfil this role and should be able to provide relevant training and
     information/support to colleagues and managers. They should be selected on the basis of their
     interest in the area as well as their ability to fulfil the new job description.




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     In smaller Departments, DLOs should be shared among a number of Departments. Initially
     consideration should be given to appointing 6-8 such whole time posts throughout the service. A
     key aim of the DLOs should be to ensure that all people with a disability employed within the
     service contribute fully to the achievement of business objectives while at the same time pursuing
     worthwhile careers within the service.

     DLOs should have a role to play in developing and delivering the special induction programme
     proposed above and in encouraging networking among civil servants with a disability. They should
     be responsible for monitoring unmet support needs and for exploring any individual difficulties
     that may arise in relation to the promotion of people with a disability. Their impact on the
     employment and career experience of civil servants with a disability should be assessed by means of
     an independent review 2-3 years after they have been put in place.

     These positions should also be reviewed when, and if, Equality Officers with a wider equality remit
     are appointed in the Civil Service. However the aim at all times should be to ensure that the
     necessary expert advise and supports are available when required.

     Monitoring Progress
     Monitoring the Target

     The existing monitoring system should continue to operate for the current year. However
     Departments should be requested to provide information on the total number of staff with a
     disability in their Department, by grade, and all civil servants so recorded should be fully informed
     that they are being recorded.

     New reporting and recording systems on the numbers of people with a disability within the service
     should be developed immediately. The aim of the new system should be to put in place a
     consistent, fair and transparent system across the service for measuring progress in achieving the
     proposed recruitment target set out above and in monitoring the employment and career
     progression of staff with a disability within the Service. The aim should be to pilot the new system
     in 2003 and to have a full self-declaration system, using an agreed format, in place by 2004.

     All Departments should be required to monitor progress made in reaching the recruitment target
     and in ensuring a more balanced distribution of employment of people with a disability across all
     sections and grades. All Departments should be required to spell out the steps they are taking to
     implement the recommendations specified in their Equality report. Key indicators of performance
     in this area should be agreed and monitored. These reports should be published and should also
     form part of each Department’s HRM strategy and related reports on the implementation of the
     PMDS.

     Key information obtained through the new system should be recorded in CEN-SIS and in all
     personnel systems operating in the different Departments

     The Equality Unit’s advise should be sought at all times when modifications are being made to existing
     personnel record systems, or when new ones are being introduced, in order to ensure that they adequately,
     accurately, and fairly collect relevant data on civil servants with a disability.

     Role of the Equality Unit

     Ensuring equality of opportunity in relation to the recruitment, employment, and career
     advancement of different groups in the labour market, is now enshrined in legislation. The Equality
     Unit in the Department of Finance has a vital role to play in encouraging and supporting policies
     to implement such legislation and in monitoring progress achieved. While work in this area is
     evolving at the present time, and concerted actions to address the issue of equality of opportunity
     generally are under active consideration within the Civil Service at the present time, there is a need



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     to address the specific issues relating to people with disabilities immediately - building on the
     findings of this report.

     The Equality Unit’s role in this area should include:

        Developing the proposed new Code of Practice for the Recruitment, Employment and Career
         Progression of civil servants with a disability;
        Developing and piloting the new monitoring system;
        Advising on issues relating to the recruitment, employment, mobility and career progression
         of civil servants with a disability;
        Advising on supports available to facilitate the employment and integration of staff with a
         disability;
        Promoting awareness of the service’s responsibilities in this area and of the roles and
         responsibilities of individual mangers and of personnel functions in ensuring that the proposed
         new code of practice is implemented;
        Developing and introducing new and consistent methods of recording data in this area-
         particularly in relation to achievement of agreed targets;
        Monitoring and reporting on progress in reaching the agreed targets; and
        Advising on specific measures that should be taken to increase the likelihood of individual
         Departments reaching these targets.

     Given the complexity of the disability issue, as outlined above, specialist expertise and support
     should be available to the Equality Unit to help in carrying out this work. This expertise could
     either be developed by means of the introduction of a new specialist post within the service or could
     be provided by an external agency with specialist expertise in this area on a contract basis.

     Disability Forum

     An Annual Forum for Personnel Officers, Disability Liaison Officers and other interested parties,
     including representatives of the proposed networks of civil servants with a disability should be
     held. The aim of the Forum should be to encourage a sharing of ideas, to address specific problems,
     and to help ensure a progressive and evolving response to the particular needs of civil servants
     with a disability within the service. While such discussions would be confidential, key issues
     emerging should be referred to the Disability Committee of General Council.




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