Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Strategic Management Initiative.

Wednesday, 1 February 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 448 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page

  11.  Mr. B. Ahern  Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern   asked the Taoiseach  Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton   if he continues to be committed to the pursuit of the strategic management initiative; and its broad implications, if any, for the reform of the broader public service. [2135/95]

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Government is fully committed to the strategic management initiative, a commitment which has been demonstrated by the appointment of Deputy Avril Doyle as Minister [960] with specific responsibility in this area. Earlier this week I met with Secretaries of all Departments and heads of offices to re-emphasise the importance of this process.

Phase I of the SMI is now essentially complete. This initial phase focused on the identification of objectives by Departments in the light of the Government programme and sets out the broad strategic approach to achieving these aims. Phase II is now beginning and it will focus essentially on outcomes and will aim for specific results to be achieved within a certain time frame. I would envisage all Ministers being fully involved in this process within their Departments.

The co-ordinating group of secretaries established under the SMI is at present completing its first report to Government. The Government programme has a specific commitment that “in co-operation with the public service, reform of the Ministers and Secretaries Act, 1924 will be undertaken”. I see the work of the co-ordinating group of secretaries making an important contribution to the Government's implementation of that commitment.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Will the Taoiseach agree the strategic management initiative is designed to improve efficiency, productivity and value for money in the public service? Will he honestly say how the appointment of five Ministers of State in Government Buildings, plus dozens of non-civil servants is consistent with the aims and purposes of the strategic management initiative? When one analyses what the Taoiseach said, the job of the Minister of State, Deputy Doyle, is similar to that of the Minister for administrative affairs in “Yes Minister”, with no real responsibility?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I profoundly disagree with the Deputy and I am glad to have the opportunity to give the reason.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I am glad to listen.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I will be brief.

[961]Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Taoiseach has nothing to say.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Basically there is a particular problem — this is identified in the strategic management review — in dealing with issues that run across a number of Departments. Breaking logjams that affect a number of Departments is a matter which, in the final analysis, requires detailed political leadership. The additional Ministers of State who have been appointed, Deputies Carey and Doyle, and also Deputy Currie who was appointed in the original series of appointments, have responsibility for a specific theme of work, whether it be western development, consumer of public services or child care——

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Except Gaeltacht affairs.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  —— which run across a number of Departments. That is a good way of bringing in the appropriate political input to break the logjams that have existed in every Government since the foundation of the State. I can produce from the record of the previous Government several examples of issues which simply were not decided because one Department would not let another Minister do so and the result was that nobody made the decision. I hope that by establishing this approach — a horizontal political input on issues rather than a vertical input — we will be able to solve matters through creative application of political leadership by the Ministers of State concerned. This is a good measure and one which should be judged by its results.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It must be a brief question, Deputy. The time has come to deal with priority questions.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not agree with the Taoiseach. We will judge this measure over time but I honestly believe that the [962] structure being put in place will subvert the strategic management initiative, and time will prove this right.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have to say with the utmost politeness I can summon that I regard that statement as nonconsensical.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We will see.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  Good luck with your horizontal work, Avril.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  May I——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I said that the time has come to deal with priority questions. In accordance with our procedure, 20 minutes must be available for this purpose.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  Can my Question No. 12 be resubmitted for reply next Tuesday?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy will be facilitated.


Last Updated: 21/05/2011 22:28:27 First Page Previous Page Page of 98 Next Page Last Page