Disciplinary Procedure

Directive 11 and the appended Manual, issued by the Principal Permanent Secretary on 28 February 2017,  in accordance with article 4(3) of the Public Administration Act (PAA), introduced the PSC Disciplinary Regulations, 2017, which came into effect on 1 March 2017, by means of L.N. 66 of 2017.  The Directive, the annexed Manual and the new PSC Disciplinary Regulations, 2017, were intended to bring about the simplification of disciplinary processes.

In the Regulations of 1999, which preceded the new PSC Disciplinary Regulations, 2017, the Prime Minister, in terms of Article 110 of the Constitution of Malta, had delegated to heads of department the authority to exercise disciplinary control over public officers under their jurisdiction. The PSC Disciplinary Regulations, 2017, while retaining the delegation of authority already exercisable by heads of department, focus on simplifying the exercise of discipline through further devolution of powers and doing away with unnecessary or duplicate processes.

The new regulations also emphasize the upholding of transparency and fairness in the course of disciplinary proceedings.   The most significant measures in this area are, amongst others, the introduction of new time-frames for heads of department to take action with a view to limiting the length of time required to conclude a disciplinary case; and the strengthening of current safeguards to increase accountability and transparency.  Such safeguards include:

  • the possibility for the officer charged to submit an appeal or representations in all stages of the disciplinary process;  
  • consistency and uniformity of treatment;
  • an impartial Disciplinary Board; and
  • the right of the officer charged to be assisted.

The Manual annexed to Directive 11 expands on the provisions of the PSC Disciplinary Regulations, 2017, to ensure that the regulations are interpreted correctly and uniformly by line departments.  It  is the Government’s official document which regulates the exercise of discipline in the Malta Public Service.  Heads of department are to ensure that the procedures and practices set out in the Manual are strictly adhered to. 

 

The Role of the PSC

The Public Service Commission exercises its regulatory function as regards the interpretation and application of the PSC Disciplinary Regulations, 2017, and the making of recommendations, as provided in the same regulations. Some of the main functions include:

  • To issue directives concerning the interpretation and operation of the PSC Disciplinary Regulations to heads of department and Disciplinary Boards;
  • To enquire into the exercise of disciplinary control to heads of department;
  • To give an oral hearing in disciplinary cases when charges are considered as potentially leading to dismissal, and decide on the penalty to be imposed, if any
  • To consider appeals concerning disciplinary decisions by heads of department.

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