Managing Unsatisfactory Performance and Conduct

1.1 Introduction

All employees of the Office of the Information Commissioner (the Office) are employed under the Public Service Act 2008 (PSA) or by Governor in Council for Senior Executive appointed staff. Therefore, Office human resource (HR) policies are developed directly from the PSA and policies, procedures and directives issued by the responsible Minister and the Public Service Commissioner. All Office HR policies are approved by the Information Commissioner and reflect functions and responsibilities of the OIC.

1.2 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to specify the process for managing unsatisfactory staff performance and conduct for employees of the Office

1.3 Effective Date

Approved by the Information Commissioner on 17 September 2013.

1.4 References

  • Public Service Act 2008 - s26 Part 3 General Public Service Principles and Chapter 6 Disciplinary Action for Public Service Employees
  • Public Service Ethics Act 1994 - Part 2 Ethics Principles and Part 4 Code of Conduct
  • Code of Conduct
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010
  • Public Interest Disclosure Standard No 1
  • Office of the Information Commissioner –Employee Performance Review and Development Policy
  • Queensland Government Performance Management Framework

1.5 Application

This policy applies to all employees of the Office.

The Office is required to have an employee performance management strategy, system and process.

The Information Commissioner must ensure the Office implements employee performance management for all employees.

All employees are to actively participate in the Office’s employee performance management process.

Employee performance management must complement the Office’s implementation of organisational performance management.

1.6 Unsatisfactory Performance

Unsatisfactory performance occurs when there are significant performance concerns and/or situations where the employee’s performance or conduct may put the Office at risk, and management of the issue/s requires action outside the Personal Performance Planning process (PPP).

There may be occasions where the seriousness of the conduct requires immediate action. The Office in taking such action will act in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Act 2008 and accord natural justice to the employee.

It is recognised and expected that any staff member at any level will have areas where improvements in performance can be achieved. These staff members will most likely be satisfactorily meeting the majority of performance expectations detailed in their PPP. The performance planning and annual review process is designed to support and encourage staff members and supervisors to jointly identify areas requiring development and take action to achieve improved performance for the benefit of the Office and the individual concerned. This does not constitute unsatisfactory performance.

1.7 Managing Unsatisfactory Performance or Conduct

Unsatisfactory performance or conduct may be identified at any point in the PPP cycle. When unsatisfactory performance or conduct is identified, a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is to be initiated within ten working days of identifying such unsatisfactory performance or conduct.

The PIP enables a supervisor to specify critical action which needs to be taken by the employee in order to achieve improved performance or conduct. Supervisors are encouraged to counsel employees to help identify possible reasons for unsatisfactory performance or conduct, and to assist in developing realistic remedial action plans.

The PIP must be signed by both the Supervisor and the employee. If the employee refuses to sign the PIP, then the matter must be dealt with as set out in 1.8 Disagreement, in this policy.

Employees maintain full access to grievance processes while a Performance Improvement Plan is current.

The Plan must document:

  • the remedial action to be taken;
  • who is responsible for the action;and
  • required outcomes.

PIPs are of three (3) months duration and the supervisor must review the employee’s performance progressively (minimum monthly). At the end of the three (3) month period,the supervisor must assess whether the required standard of performance or conduct has been achieved. If it has, then the performance improvement review period will end and the employee reverts to the normal PPP performance cycle.

If performance conduct is still not satisfactory, a second three (3) month PIP must be implemented immediately. The supervisor should notify the employee in writing of areas where performance or conduct continues at an unsatisfactory level. If unsatisfactory performance or conduct still persists after the further 3 month period, disciplinary, administrative or other remedial action will occur. This action may include:

  • further remedial action;
  • training;
  • reprimand;
  • demotion;
  • reduction in salary;
  • deferment of salary increment;
  • referral to Employee Assistance Service (EAS);
  • termination of contract for contract or probationary staff; and
  • dismissal.

Natural justice will be afforded to any staff member subject to an unsatisfactory performance or conduct process or subsequent disciplinary or administrative processes. This includes:

  • employees should know about decisions or judgements that affect them;
  • decision makers must act fairly without actual or perceived bias;
  • all parties to a decision should be heard and all relevant arguments considered before a decision is made; and
  • employees should have an opportunity to present their view and respond to any adverse material before decisions are made affecting them.

1.8 Disagreements

Disagreements or issues of concern regarding a PIP should be fully discussed between the employeeand the supervisor when they occur. The employee may also raise issues of concern directly with the Reviewing Officer (Unit Commissioner) at any time in the performance cycle. Where disagreements cannot be resolved, both parties are to forward their views, in writing, to the Reviewing Officer within ten working days of the disagreement taking place. The Reviewing Officer will aim to resolve the disagreement as soon as possible. The Reviewing Officer may modify a PIP after consulting and negotiating with both parties. Any changes must be signed by both the staff member and the supervisor. Formal complaint processes may be initiated if the issues are unable to be resolved.

1.9 Complaints

Employee complaints and appeals are to be made in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Act 2008 and any relevant directives issued by the Public Service Commission Chief Executive.

1.10 Confidentiality

PIP documentation will be accessed only by parties involved in the process i.e. the employee, supervisor and Reviewing Officer (if required). All PIP documents are to be held by the supervisor in secure storage. A copy may be retained by the staff member. Documents may be held in electronic form provided security is maintained and access restricted. Details are not to be held on the staff member’s personal file. On finalisation of the PIP process, documents held by the supervisor are to be forwarded to the Director, Engagement and Corporate Services. This document will be retained and destroyed in line with the OIC Retention and Disposal Schedule.

There are some situations which may lead to access by others. For example:

  • where a Performance Improvement Plan is initiated;
  • when decisions relating to the review or confirmation of probationary appointments are made;
  • in the investigation of a grievance by an employee;
  • if disciplinary action is taken against an employee.

Download Performance Improvement Plan (PDF, 43.91 KB)