Home | Public Service Commission



The Public Service Commission was established in 2006 by the Secretary of State to

"make recommendations to government on the guiding principles and steps necessary to safeguard the interests of staff and to ensure their smooth transfer to new organisations established as a consequence of government decisions on the Review of Public Administration, taking into account statutory obligations, including those arising from section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1988".


Speech by Mr Sid McDowell, CBE, Chairman of the Public Service Commission to the LGSC/SOLACE Conference in the Lough Erne Golf Resort, Enniskillen – 9 December, 2009
"...the thing people really value is ‘face to face’ communication."
"...there is now in place a vital and necessary set of assurances governing the way our people are to be treated before transfer, at the point of transfer, and post-transfer."
For the speech in full, see PEOPLE MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN




The Public Service Commission (PSC) has expressed its deep concern at the intention of the DOE Minister to set aside the Northern Ireland Executive’s RPA 4th Guiding Principle (Filling new or substantially new posts). The Minister has decided to breach this Guiding Principle to enable open competition to select Chief Executives to the 11 new councils as specified in reg. 18(a) of the Local Government (Statutory Transition Committees) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 . In expressing its profound disappointment the PSC in a recent letter reminded the Minister that this Guiding Principle had been accepted by the Executive as an approved and agreed procedure for dealing with new appointments arising from the Reform of Public Administration. Furthermore, the PSC has taken the view that the interests of fair and equitable treatment are compromised by this decision given that the Guiding Principle was followed successfully by the Health and Library sectors as they went through the reform programme.
In a recent lengthy letter the PSC has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister of the Environment in an attempt to ensure full and proper compliance with the Northern Ireland Executive’s RPA Guiding Principles.
The Chairman of the PSC Mr Sid McDowell said “The Minister and the Department of the Environment are engaged in an exercise to drive a coach and horses through the NI Executive’s RPA Guiding Principles. They also appear to be dishonouring the vital assurances provided to Local Government and other staff that they would be treated fairly and equitably in comparison with staff who have already undergone the RPA process. On the face of it this is quite scandalous behaviour which requires an urgent explanation”

Movement on Local Government Reform

It has been agreed that there are to be eleven councils with eleven "Shadow" Councils to be elected by June 2014. The eleven councils proper would meet around the beginning of April 2015.
It is envisaged that the process would be undertaken in three phases;
  • Legislation
  • Implementation and
  • Transfer of Functions
The Public Service Commission developed 10 Guiding Principles and steps necessary to safeguard the interests of staff affected by the Review of Public Administration. These Principles were accepted by the Northern Ireland Executive.  The 1st Guiding Principle is the development of an effective communication strategy  The recent movement on Local Government Reform has prompted the Public Service Commission along with the Local Government Staff Commission to revisit an earlier Communication Strategy  It is seen as even more important now to ensure that staff are kept informed prior to, during and after the restarted reform process .



Contrary to earlier expectations the Education and Skills Authority was not established by April 2013. It is understood that talks between political parties are continuing in an effort to resolve the impass. The delay and continuing uncertainty is proving very difficult for, and unfair to existing staff.


The report on the self-assessment compliance questionnaire is now available.
"All responding organisations were asked how their organisation had found the Guiding Principles and Associated Recommendations, regardless of whether their sector had fully completed the RPA exercise.
- 88% (23 of 26) found them relevant;
-81% (21 of 26) found them useful; and
62% (16 of 26) found them comprehensive...."
 It was completed both by staff from organisations which had already gone through the RPA process and those who have yet to go through it.  Overall the results are a positive affirmation that the Guiding Principles occupy a key role within the RPA process.
For the report in full, see RPA Compliance Questionnaire



If you require clarification on any of the content, you should contact your respective HR or local Trade Union representative.


The Improvement and Development Agency for local government (DeA) and the Public Sector People Manager's Association have published a paper entitled 'Managing people through major transitions' which captures the HR learning from the 2009 local government reorganisations.  
"Just as people lie at the heart of local government service delivery, people also lie at the heart of successful change. Winning the hearts and minds of staff to the change process is a vital building block of successful restructuring. Equally important are robust data and systems covering staff numbers, costs, performance, contractual status and other information needed for the achievement of smooth and effective reorganisation. Finally, there have to be effective mechanisms for the recruitment, transfer or exit of staff as well as consultation and negotiation with trade unions. "

Latest News