Written Answers - Vocational Education and Training.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 677 No. 5

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  246.  Deputy Charles Flanagan  Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the factors taken into account when allocating funding to an organisation (details supplied) in Dublin 4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10608/09]

  247.  Deputy Charles Flanagan  Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the amount of taxpayers’ money that is provided to an organisation (details supplied) in Dublin 4 through the VECs on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10609/09]

  248.  Deputy Charles Flanagan  Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   if it is appropriate to monitor the spending of an organisation (details supplied) in Dublin 4 in view of the fact that its operations are almost entirely funded by the taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10610/09]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 to 248, inclusive, together.

The Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) represents the interests, at national level, of the thirty three Vocational Education Committees. The IVEA is recognised by my Department as one of the three second level management bodies under the Education Act, 1998 and the Vocational Education (Amendment) Act, 2001. The IVEA fulfils a range of functions which seek to protect, promote and enhance the interests of vocational education and training within the wider education sector and the country at large.

A key factor in determining the allocation of funding to IVEA is its participation as part of the Official Side in the negotiation through the industrial relation processes of issues relating to staff employed by schools or Vocational Education Committees. My Department provided grant aid of €177,532 to IVEA in 2008.

The participation of the relevant managerial bodies, including IVEA, as national representative bodies for Schools and Vocational Education Committees as employers of teachers and other staff in the industrial relations process is crucial to the management of this activity by [189]my Department. The level of service that is currently required for industrial relations issues, which includes pay, conditions of service, and employment law is significant. Servicing meetings on these issues requires that representatives of the management groups be available on a regular basis for a variety of meetings and consultations. Representatives need to be fully briefed and in a position to contribute to the formulation of Official Side agendas and positions in a constructive manner while representing the views of the management authorities on the various issues. Unlike other management bodies, IVEA has a particular remit to negotiate on behalf of all VECs on matter relating to adult, community and further education. As this is a rapidly developing area it is important that there is a uniform approach to the issues arising. IVEA brings a consistency of approach in this sector.

In 2008 each VEC was required to pay a contribution of €11,900 per annum towards the operating costs of the IVEA, resulting in an overall contribution of €392,700 to IVEA by VECs. Any change in the annual subscription made by VECs must be approved by resolution at the annual congress of IVEA.

The IVEA is an independent organisation governed under a Constitution unanimously passed at an Extraordinary Congress of the Association in 2003. IVEA has established finance and audit committees which monitor income and expenditure on an ongoing basis. The accounts of IVEA are independently audited and are submitted to my Department on an annual basis, as a prerequisite to the draw down for grant aid. In addition, the IVEA accounts are presented to its annual congress for approval. I have no plans to monitor the day to day spending of IVEA.


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