About managing underperformance:
Last updated November 2012
In order to comply with the APS Value that requires agencies to focus on achieving results and managing performance agencies are required to have in place procedures to manage staff in the event that an individual's performance falls below that which would normally be expected.
Under clause 2.12(1)(e) of the Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 1999, each APS agency is required to establish a performance management system that covers all APS employees in the agency and is linked to its specific organisational or business goals and which provides each employee with a clear statement of their duties and standards of performance expected. Agency performance management systems should also include specific provisions for assessing and resolving cases of underperformance which can result in a range of outcomes including reassignment of duties, reduction in pay and classification or termination of employment. Agencies need to consider whether they develop different performance management systems and procedures for non-ongoing employees and ongoing employees who are subject to a probationary period. In addition, these systems and procedures should differentiate between non-performance and underperformance of duties.
Any procedures for managing non-performance or underperformance established by an agency should have regard to procedural fairness and clearly indicate the circumstances where termination of employment or reduction in classification is likely to be considered. They should contain provisions for employees to be warned about non-performance or unsatisfactory performance and to be given a fair chance to improve performance.
Performance management procedures are often included in an agency's enterprise agreement. It is suggested that where an agency includes procedures for assessing performance and determining unsatisfactory performance of duties within their enterprise agreement, it would be prudent to clearly exclude non-ongoing APS employees and ongoing APS employees who are subject to a probationary period from those formal procedures. Performance management expectations and procedures for these staff can be set out elsewhere.