Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 718 No. 3

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  227.  Deputy Lucinda Creighton  Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton   asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation which recommendations contained in  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   the McCarthy report pertain to his Department; the detail of each and proposed savings relating to his Department; which of these have been [747]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. [36982/10]

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Deputy Batt O’Keeffe): Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  The Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes made a number of recommendations addressed directly to my Department. All recommendations contained in the report have been considered by my Department and, where appropriate, have been implemented either in part or in full.

The following table sets out the current position in relation to the recommendations and identifies the associated savings achieved to date.

As the Deputy will be aware, FÁS transferred from my Department to the Department of Education and Skills with effect from 1 May this year and the recommendations made by the Special Group in relation to FÁS programmes and services are now a matter for consideration by that Department.

[748]

Ref. in Report Recommendation Associated savings suggested by Special Group Current Position Savings made
A1 Reduce grant support and secure efficiency cuts in the context of creating a single funding stream for all science, technology and innovation activities across all Departments. €4.9m Current
€48m Capital
In the context of Budget 2010, the Minister for Finance announced that the Government was establishing a single funding stream for Science, Technology and Innovation to maximise the efficiency and focus of investment and ensure that Ireland’s effort is strategically targeted on those areas that can achieve greatest impact. €15m reduction in base-line Capital allocation for 2010.
The transfer of responsibility and associated funding for the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) and certain other research functions from the Department of Education and Skills to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation from 1 May 2010 represents significant progress in relation to implementing this recommendation.
Work is on-going to identify the areas that have the greatest potential to deliver sustainable economic return from Ireland’s investment in Science, Technology and Innovation.
A2 Discontinuation of funding for the Irish Council for Bioethics. €0.4m The 2010 Estimates made provision for an orderly wind-down of funding from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the Irish Council for Bioethics (ICB) in the course of the year. The then Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment agreed with the Minister for Health and Children and the Minister for Finance that the three staff in the secretariat to the ICB should be seconded to the Department of Health and Children, so that their expertise could be availed of appropriately. €0.4m in DETI Vote
The funding allocation that had previously been made available to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for the ICB was accordingly transferred to the Department of Health and Children. Any further decisions in relation to the body are a matter for that Department.

[749]

Ref. in Report Recommendation Associated savings suggested by Special Group Current Position Savings made
A3
B3
B8
D3
E3
F2
Reduction in Departmental and agency staff numbers €6.3m for Departmental staff. The Special Group proposed reductions in civil and public service numbers across all of the Department’s programmes. The paybill for Departmental staff was reduced by €5m in 2010 compared to the 2009 allocation due to reductions in pay scales and in staff numbers.
Staff savings in agencies included in proposed administrative cuts (see other recommendations) The number of staff serving across the Department and its agencies fell by 322 in 2009 and will fall further in 2010 due to the moratorium on the recruitment of staff. Further savings will arise due to the moratorium on the recruitment of staff.
The Department is currently in discussion with the Department of Finance on staffing targets for the years 2010-2012.
B1 Consolidate all indigenous enterprise support and sector marketing functions in Enterprise Ireland and the rationalise the organisations losing functions as appropriate. EI to deliver consolidated services through 8 offices in line with NSS hubs €10m The proposal made by the Special Group cuts across a number of Government Departments and agencies. Those aspects that concern only the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (regarding, for example, the CEBs) are under active consideration at the moment. See “Current Position”
B2 Reduction of IDA’s capital and administrative costs including rationalisation of regional offices in Ireland and shared services. €10m Capital
€16m Current
There was a once-off saving of €10m on IDA’s Capital allocation for 2009. However, the agency’s capital allocation is directly related to its contractual commitments and this saving is not recurrent. €10m Capital in 2009
€2.6 m Current savings in 2010. Scope for further savings will be considered in the context of the 2011 Estimates.
IDA’s administrative costs have been reduced by €2.6 million for 2010 compared to the 2009 Estimate provision. This has been achieved through pay and efficiency savings.
B3 Reduction in Enterprise Ireland’s Capital spend €10m The Government considered it appropriate to increase Capital funding to Enterprise Ireland over the last two years to enable the agency to support vulnerable but viable companies, through, for example, the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund. See “Current Position”

[750]

Ref. in Report Recommendation Associated savings suggested by Special Group Current Position Savings made
B3 Efficiency saving in administration and programme prioritisation in Enterprise Ireland.Reduction of at least 200 staff in EI €36m Enterprise Ireland’s administrative budget has been reduced by €7.9 million for 2010 compared to the 2009 Estimate provision. This has been achieved through pay and efficiency savings. €7.9m savings in 2010. Scope for further savings will be considered in the context of the 2011 Estimates.
B4 The rationalisation of IDA and Enterprise Ireland overseas offices. Included in recommendations B2 and B3 The agencies already share office space in common locations, where it is practical to do so. See “Current Position”
B5 Reorganisation of Shannon Development. €2m Consideration of this recommendation is on-going in the context of the special requirements of the Mid West Region in the aftermath of the Dell closure. Any reorganisation of Shannon Development would require approval by the Government. See “Current Position”
B6 Reorganisation of Forfás. €2m The Special Group’s proposal was that Forfas’s existing shared services function (carried out on behalf of a number of agencies) should be relocated to a wider Shared Services operation. See “Current Position”
The implementation of this recommendation would be contingent on the identification of another body which provides shared services functions more efficiently than Forfas.
In the absence of the identification of such a body, the Department requested Forfás to examine the possibility of achieving savings through an enhancement of their existing shared services arrangements. The Department is currently considering the Forfás submission regarding same.
B7 Privatise the Certification Service of the National Standards Authority of Ireland and implementation of an organisational review. €4.5m Having considered the recommendation in detail, it was not clear that any benefit would accrue to the taxpayer from the privatisation of Certification Services, because of the high level of overhead costs that would remain with the NSAI after a sale of the certification business. The more likely result would be increased Exchequer cost. Accordingly, it has been decided not to pursue this proposal at this time. See “Current Position”

[751]

Ref. in Report Recommendation Associated savings suggested by Special Group Current Position Savings made
D1 The relocation of all Industrial Relations institutions to a single location. €1.5m per year for 2 years The Labour Court, the Labour Relations Commission and the Rights Commissioner services are currently located in Tom Johnson House in Dublin. Notwithstanding the preceding comments, the combined 2010 budgets for the Labour Court and the LRC have been reduced by €1.5m compared to the 2009 Estimates provision.
The Office of Public Works and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources have been requested to facilitate the location of the Employment Appeals Tribunal to the same premises.
D2 Merging the Health and Safety Authority and the National Employment Rights Authority into one Work Place Inspectorate. €5m Further examination of this proposal suggests that:
there are radical differences between the natures of the two inspectorates;
overlaps between the two Agencies are minimal;
a merger will not yield appreciable savings;
substantial legislative change would be required
Notwithstanding the preceding comments, the combined 2010 budgets for NERA and the H&SA have been reduced by €1.5m compared to the 2009 Estimates provision.
On that basis, it is not proposed to proceed with this recommendation. However, both agencies are, under the aegis of the Department, developing a programme of practical co-operation designed to make most efficient and effective use of their overall resources, whilst having regard to their different remits.
E1 Merging the functions of the Registrar of Friendly Societies (RFS) and Companies Registration Office (CRO). €0.5m The two offices and their statutory functions are already the responsibility of the same public official. The 2010 Estimate provision for the CRO and RFS shows administrative savings (pay and Non-Pay) of €0.9m compared to the 2009 Estimates provision.

[752]

Ref. in Report Recommendation Associated savings suggested by Special Group Current Position Savings made
E2 IAASA should maximise shared services and reduce the Exchequer’s intervention from 40% to 20% €0.8m IAASA is endeavouring to maximise the use of shared services, but scope for savings is minimal. The Department currently provides payroll services to the Authority. See “Current Position”
The level of Exchequer subvention is provided for in legislation and any reduction in this subvention would require detailed policy assessment and legislative change.
F Savings in corporate services, a reduction in administrative budget and a transfer of foreign posts to Brussels to reduce travel and subsistence spend €1m Savings of €1 million in the Administrative Budget were delivered in 2009. Further savings will be achieved in 2010, largely due to reductions in Pay rates (see also Ref. A3 above). €1m in 2009
€4.1m in 2010
There are costs associated with the assignment of posts to Brussels (e.g. Rent Allowance). Having analysed the proposal, the Department does not believe that the recommendation would be efficient or achieve economies in an overall context.
G Merging the Irish Takeover Panel with the Competition Authority No saving identified This merger could lead to unnecessary policy conflict and it would not be in line with best international practice. See “Current Position”


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