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Public Service (Amendment) Act No 37 of 2000

Assent: 12 September 2000
Commencement: 16 October 2000

REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


PUBLIC SERVICE (AMENDMENT) ACT

NO. 37 OF 2000

Arrangement of Sections

1. Insertion of new section
2. Amendment of section 8
3. Amendment of section 18
4. Insertion of new sections
5. Amendment of section 20
6. Repeal of section 22 and substitution of new section
7. Amendment of section 25
8. Insertion of new sections
9. Amendment of section 35
10. Amendment of section 37
11. Amendment of section 38
12. Amendment of section 43
13. Insertion of new section
14. Commencement

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REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


PUBLIC SERVICE (AMENDMENT) ACT

NO. 37 OF 2000

An Act to amend the Public Service Act No. 11 of 1998 (the "Principal Act").


BE IT ENACTED by the President and Parliament as follows:

Insertion of new section

1. After section 7 of the Principal Act the following section is inserted:

"Adequate funding to perform functions

7A The Government must ensure that there is a sufficient budget allocated to the Commission to enable the Commission to perform its functions efficiently, effectively and properly.".

Amendment of section 8

2. Section 8 of the Principal Act is amended by:

(a) adding at the end of subsection (1) the following paragraphs:

"(m) to set targets for the delivery of services by the Commission;

(n) to provide regular reports in writing to the Minister on the performance of the Commission."; and

(b) inserting after subsection (2) the following subsection:

"(2A) The Commission must perform its functions efficiently, effectively and properly."

Amendment of section 18

3. Section 18 of the Principal Act is amended by deleting subsections (3) and (4).

Insertion of new sections

4 After section 19 of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted:

"Grounds for removing director-generals and directors

 19A (1) The Commission may remove a director-general or director:

(a) because his or her performance is unsatisfactory; or

(b) because of misconduct on his or her part; or

(c) because of physical or mental incapacity; or

(d) if he or she becomes bankrupt.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a director-general's or a director's performance is unsatisfactory if:

(a) he or she has not undertaken all or any of his or her principal responsibilities as set out in subsection 20(1) or (2) for a significant period of time; or

(b) there has been a serious breach of his or her performance agreement.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), an act by a director-general or director that would be a serious disciplinary offence under section 36 amounts to misconduct.

(4) A director-general or a director cannot be removed unless the procedure for removal set out in section 19B is followed.

Procedure for removal of director-generals and directors

19B (1) The Commission must not remove a director-general or director from office unless the Commission has received a complaint in writing from the Prime Minister, a Minister, the Ombudsman or the Auditor General:

(a) alleging that there is a ground or are grounds for his or her removal under subsection 19A(1); and

(b) setting out the evidence in support of the allegations.

(2) The Commission must:

(a) appoint one or more persons to investigate the complaint; and

(b) send the director-general or director a copy of the complaint; and

(c) give the director-general or director 21 days within which to respond in writing to the allegations.

(3) The Commission may:

(a) dismiss the complaint if the Commission is satisfied that it is frivolous or vexatious; and

(b) request additional information from the complainant if the complaint does not contain sufficient information.

(4) The Commission must decide whether or not to remove the director-general or the director:

(a) within 75 days after receiving the complaint; or

(b) if additional information has been requested under paragraph (3)(b) - within 75 days after receiving that additional information.

(5) The person or persons appointed to investigate the complaint must provide a report on the investigation to the Commission. The Commission must take into account the report and any responses made under paragraph (2)(c) in deciding whether to remove a director-general or director.

(6) The Commission must give the director-general or director and the complainant written notice of the Commission's decision and the reasons for the decision.

(7) A decision by the Commission to remove a director-general or director takes effect on the day on which the decision is made.".

Amendment of section 20

5. Section 20 of the Principal Act is amended by:

(a) inserting after paragraph (1)(a) the following paragraphs:

"(ab) giving effect to the lawful directions of the Minister; and

(ac) providing regular briefings to the Minister or his or her political advisors about:

(i) the management of the Ministry and the performance of its functions, including service delivery functions; or

(ii) any other matter relevant to the management or functions of the Ministry that is requested by the Minister or his or her political advisors;

(ad) providing a briefing to the Minister or his or her first political advisor as soon as possible after each DCO meeting;

(ae) ensuring that the Ministry performs its service delivery functions efficiently and effectively;"; and

(b) inserting after subsection (2) the following subsection:

"(2A) Director-generals and directors must work cooperatively with other director-generals and directors, political advisors and the heads of other Government agencies.".

Repeal of section 22 and substitution of new section

6. Section 22 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section is substituted:

"Director-general, director and employees subject to Ministerial directive

22 A director-general, director or any other employee is subject to the lawful direction of his or her Minister in relation to exercising his or her powers or performing his or her functions under this Act.".

Amendment of section 25

7. Section 25 of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end the following subsection:

"(3) Subsection (4) applies in relation to an employee who has been acting continuously for a period of at least 6 months in a position that is:

(a) in the case of a permanent employee - above his or her permanent position; or

(b) in any other case - above the position to which he or she has been appointed.

(4) The Commission may appoint the employee on a permanent basis to the higher position without advertising if the Commission at its meeting convened for that purpose unanimously agrees that there has not been any abuse of the merit and equity selection criteria.".

Insertion of new sections

8. After section 29 of the Principal Act the following sections are inserted:

"Dismissal for criminal conviction

29A (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Commission may dismiss an employee who is convicted of a criminal offence.

(2) A dismissal is to be made in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations as if the criminal offence were a disciplinary offence.

On the spot fines for unauthorised use of motor vehicles

29B (1) An employee must not use a vehicle belonging to the Government without appropriate authority.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 20,000.

(3) If the Commission is satisfied that an employee has contravened subsection (1), the Commission may issue the person with a penalty notice.

(4) A penalty notice is a notice to the effect that, if the person does not wish to have the matter determined by a court, he or she must, within 7 days after receiving the notice, pay to the Commission the amount specified in the notice which must not exceed VT 20,000.

(5) The use of a vehicle belonging to the Government without appropriate authority by an employee is taken to be a disciplinary offence for the purposes of this Act and the regulations. Nothing in this section is to be construed so as to prevent disciplinary action being taken against the employee in accordance with Part 6.".

Amendment of section 35

9. Section 35 of the Principal Act is amended by deleting subsection (2) and substituting the following subsections:

"(2) The director-general must make a genuine attempt to resolve the dispute within the Ministry. However, if the dispute cannot be resolved within the Ministry, the dispute is to be dealt with as provided for under this Act and the regulations.

(3) An employee can be suspended only by a director-general or a director in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations.

(4) To avoid doubt, disciplinary action may be taken against an employee whether or not the employee has been suspended.".

Amendment of section 37

10 Section 37 of the Principal Act is amended by deleting "30 days" from subsection (11) and substituting "45 days".

Amendment of section 38

11. Section 38 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting after subsection (1) the following subsection:

"(1A) An appeal must be made within 21 days after the person is given written notice by the Board of its decision.".

Amendment of section 43

12. Section 43 of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end of subsection (1) the following paragraph:

"(f) prescribing penalties for offences against the regulations, being penalties that are punishable on conviction by a court by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000."

Insertion of new section

13. After section 48 of the Principal Act the following section is inserted:

"Time provisions for remote communities

48A The Commission may extend any period of time provided for under this Act or the regulations (other than a period of time relating to a disciplinary matter) for a person who ordinarily lives outside Port Vila or Luganville if the Commission is satisfied that the person would be disadvantaged if an extension were not given.".

Commencement

14. This Act commences on the day on which it is published in the Gazette.

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