Wednesday, 2 June 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
117. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had a risk assessment carried out on possible consequential risks to the effectiveness of services provided by each Department or agency under his aegis which is to relocate under the Government’s decentralisation programme; if not, the reason therefor; and if so, if the risk assessment will be published, furnished to the Comptroller and Auditor General and accessible under the Freedom of Information Act 1997. [16846/04]
118. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Secretary General of his Department has provided him with advice in pursuance of the Secretary General’s responsibility as Accounting Officer under public finance procedures as set out in table 2 of the Mullarkey report; and if not, if he has requested such advice from the Secretary General. [16861/04]
120. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the annual report of his Department will contain a risk assessment of decentralisation, as it affects his Department or agencies under its aegis, dealing with strategic, operational, financial and reputational risks as set out in paragraph 6.31 of the Mullarkey report. [16891/04]
121. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the audit committee of his Department will consider a risk assessment with regard to strategic, operational, financial and reputational risks of the implementation of the Government’s decentralisation proposals as they affect his Department or its agencies; and if not, the reason therefor, in view of the recommendation of the Mullarkey committee that such risk assessment be carried out. [16906/04]
123. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Secretary General of his Department has tendered advice to him in pursuance of his personal responsibility as Secretary General under public financial procedures for economy and efficiency in the administration of his Department on the impact in the short or long term on the economy and the efficiency of administration of his Department or its agencies arising from the Government’s proposals for decentralisation. [16964/04]
The decentralisation implementation group, established last December by the Minister for Finance, recommended in its report of 31 March 2004 that each Department-agency participating in the decentralisation programme should prepare its own implementation plan for submission to the group by the end of May 2004. These initial implementation plans will require further development as additional information emerges in relation to the people, property and business issues identified in the implementation group’s report.
The implementation plan of the Department of Foreign Affairs for the decentralisation of the development co-operation directorate, DCD, to Limerick is currently being finalised. It will address issues such as service and business continuity, efficiency and effectiveness and financial implications and will incorporate specific risk assessment and mitigation strategies.
The Department’s implementation plan will be published after it has been made available to the implementation group, to the Department’s audit committee and to staff interests. The Department’s annual report will also take account of it. The plan will, of course, be available to the Comptroller and Auditor General. As the report will be published, the question of access under freedom of information would not seem to arise.
In relation to the issue of public financial procedures generally, I assure the Deputy that there is a high level of awareness in the Department of Foreign Affairs of the types of risks identified in paragraph 6.31 of the report of the working group on the accountability of Secretaries General and Accounting Officers, the Mullarkey report. In this regard, the Secretary General will be submitting the Department’s implementation plan to me prior to its transmission to the implementation group.
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