Under the PSML, a decision of the Head of the Civil Service, Official Member or Chief Officer (as the case may be) can only be appealed in narrow circumstances. These are set out in Section A – Types of Appeals of the Guidance Notes for Lodging Appeals documents under the sub-headings Required Evidence for Appeals.
This means that a decision cannot be appealed merely because the Appellant does not like it. Further, this legal requirement means that before agreeing to consider an appeal, the Commission must satisfy itself that there are sufficient legal grounds for the appeal.
It is important to remember that in all cases the PSML places the onus of proof on the Appellant by requiring evidence to support the appeal.
Under the PSML, appeals to the Commission must be lodged within 30 calendar days of the Appellant being notified of the decision made by the Head of the Civil Service, Official Member, or Chief Officer.
This legal timeline requirement means that before agreeing to consider an Appeal, the Commission must satisfy itself that the Appeal has been lodged within the 30 calendar day statutory limit.
It must be noted that an appeal must be submitted in accordance with these Guidance Notes within the required 30 calendar day timeframe. In the event that the Appellant is unable to file a completed appeal within the 30 calendar day timeframe, he or she should submit the appeal and supporting documents to the extent that they are able, with a covering letter detailing what information is lacking and why, and when it is expected to become available. The matter will be considered and the Appellant notified as to the timeframe the Commission has agreed in order to complete the submission.
Where a potential Appellant is engaged in discussion (generally of a without prejudice nature) with the potential Respondent, the right of appeal may be extended beyond the 30 day legal timeframe if the Appellant communicates with the Commission during that legal timeframe indicating that such discussions are ongoing and requests an extension. The Commission will allow up to 30 days for these discussions to progress.
Prior to the end of this extended timeframe (i.e. by the close of business on the 30th day if a 30 day extension was granted), the Appellant must communicate to the Commission whether additional time is being sought or whether the discussions have not resulted in a positive outcome and therefore they wish to proceed with the appeal.
In the event the Appellant wishes more time to engage in discussions, the Commission will consider this but a favourable decision should not be presumed. In the event the Appellant wishes to proceed with his or her appeal submission, or their request for an extension to continue discussions is refused, they will have 15 calendar days (from the end of the original extension) to submit a completed appeal submission.
A Notice of Appeal is not considered by the Commission to suffice in filing an appeal.
The responsibility for preparing and submitting an Appeal rests with the Appellant. However, an Appellant may seek assistance from a family member, friend, lawyer, CICSA representative or other person when preparing the Appeal submission.
In order to maintain their neutrality and independence, the Commission members and staff of the Commission Secretariat are not to assist an Appellant in preparing appeal documents.
As a general rule, the Appellant should complete the standard appeal form which is available either from the Commission office or online on the Commission’s website. Appeal submissions without the form will not be refused provided the Appellant provides the information requested in the form in a clear and concise alternative format. An appeal submission can be lodged with the Commission by mailing, emailing, hand delivering or faxing it to the Commission Secretariat offices.
An appeal must be in writing and be signed by the Appellant. It must contain the following information:
5. the action the Appellant would like the Commission to take if his/her appeal is successful.
It is to be noted that once an appeal has been filed with the Commission, communication between an Appellant and a Respondent (that is the Head of the Civil Service, Chief Officer or Official Member whose decision the appeal is being lodged against) is prohibited, and as such, all communication is done via the Commission. This includes communication between the legal representatives for each party. This includes communication between the legal representatives for each party.
If the party acquires representation after an appeal or response has been lodged, then written notice of representation must be provided to the Commission. The Commission will inform the parties involved in writing, and at that juncture the Commission will communicate only with the representative(s).
The PSML and Personnel Regulations draw a distinction between appeals and grievances.
Grievances are defined in Personnel Regulation 51(2) as concerns of a staff member relating to workplace conditions or safety, the behaviour of another staff member in the workplace, or compliance of other staff members with the Public Servant’s Code of Conduct. That Regulation also makes it clear that a grievance is not a matter which is the subject of the appeal process.
In other words the grounds for a grievance are different from the grounds for an appeal. Grievances, and a chief officer’s response to a grievance, cannot be appealed to Commission and fall outside the Commission’s jurisdiction.