Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 718 No. 3

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  69.  Deputy Lucinda Creighton  Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan   the recommendations contained in the report of the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes that pertain to his Department; the detail of each and proposed savings relating to his Department; which of these have been implemented to date and the expected savings to be achieved on each of these in one calendar year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36984/10]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Brian Lenihan): Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  The Special Group made one specific recommendation pertaining to my Department as follows:

Group’s recommendation Status
General administration and programme efficiencies with associated reduction in staff numbers of 30, annual saving €5.0m Completed

The Special Group also made a number of cross-cutting recommendations in relation to initiatives such as procurement reform, shared services, greater focus on performance and outputs and strengthening of multi-annual budgeting arrangements. The consideration and progression of these recommendations is being coordinated by the Department of Finance in the broader context of the Transforming Public Services agenda. The relevant details are set out in the following table.

As these recommendations are general in nature the Special Group did not attribute any specific savings to them. However, it is expected that cross-cutting cost savings will be achieved when a number of the recommendations are implemented.

Group’s recommendation Status
Administrative savings in the IPA and the ESRI resulting in reduced grants in aid Completed
Potential to develop shared services (salaries, pensions, accounts, HR) In progress
Further scaling-back and re-prioritisation of capital expenditure. The Capital Review published in July 2010 provided for both a significant scaling back and for reprioritisation
A uniform Public Service Numbers Policy. In Budget 2010, the Government moved to a new, more rigorous approach to controlling public service numbers, centring upon the establishment of agreed annual numbers ceilings, to be managed in accordance with Employment Control Frameworks for each Ministerial Vote Group. This approach is in line with the recommendation of the Special Group, and on this basis the Government has planned to bring about a reduction of approximately 12,600 public service staff by end-2012, relative to the end-2008 position.
Implementation of measures in the Green Paper on Pensions In progress
Medium-term envelopes Under active consideration in the context of preparations for the 4 year plan.
Strategic objectives for the new NPPPOU. Strategic objectives in place, strategy statement being finalised, performance monitoring under consideration.
Prepare legislation to centralise the management of State property in OPW In progress
Updated and enhanced guidelines for acquisition, management, sale and inter-agency transfer of property. In progress
Centralised shared approaches to ICT services and data centre facilities, IT Advisory Group. In progress
Pension policy should be adjusted to take account of future pension liabilities to the state. In progress
Public Service Performance Charter In progress
Development and enhancement of IT skills In progress
Enhanced VFM & Policy Reviews & Possible role for the C&AG in auditing or verifying the Annual Output Statements Under active consideration in the context of work on structural reforms in the 4 year plan
New benchmarking process The proposal will remain under consideration but there are no plans for a further benchmarking exercise at this time
Monitor performance against objectives of NPPPOU Strategic objectives in place, strategy statement being finalised, performance monitoring under consideration.
Estimates should be produced on a programme-by-programme basis. Under active consideration in the context of work on structural reforms in the 4 year plan
All regulators to submit budgets to the Department of Finance The McCarthy Group Report recommendation is under consideration and will be pursued. Separately, the Government decided in 2009 following a Review of the Economic Regulatory Environment, that Departments will be asked to put in place arrangements for increased scrutiny of expenditure plans and the setting of industry levies, including approval of these by relevant Ministers, with the agreement of the Minister for Finance. The potential for the joint collection of levies across regulators will also be pursued in line with the recommendations of the McCarthy Group.


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