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Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the five most serious disciplinary breaches in his Department were in the last 12 months; and what steps were taken in response to each breach. (223066)

The details of the five most serious breaches cannot be released because to do so might identify the individuals concerned.

The disciplinary offences the Department has dealt with in the past 12 months fall into three broad categories: fraud, email abuse and bad time-keeping.

The Northern Ireland Office takes any breach of discipline seriously and within the last 12 months five civil servants have been dismissed for serious disciplinary offences. When the circumstances of a disciplinary offence have not merited dismissal, individuals have been issued with a written warning. A written warning has a two-year life span during which the individual concerned has restrictions placed on them which include:

not being considered for promotion;

not being considered for temporary promotion opportunities that may arise;

considered not to have satisfactory service if a departmental reference is requested.

The Civil Service Code and the Northern Ireland Office staff handbooks set out the standards of behaviour expected of all staff employed in the Department.