Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 722 No. 4

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  83.  Deputy Lucinda Creighton  Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton   asked the Taoiseach  Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen   the savings he has made as a result of the recommendations contained in the report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43397/10]

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  As a result of the report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure separate programme funding for the work of the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership and the Active Citizenship Office ceased in 2009. The separate Offices in these areas have been discontinued which has given rise to savings on my Department’s Vote of approximately €308,000 per annum. The National Forum on Europe was closed in 2009 which also gave rise to savings of €515,000.

In addition there has been significant savings in the National Economic and Social Development Office. On 1st April 2010, an Order was made under Section 34 of the National Economic and Social Development Office Act 2006, which dissolved the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP). As a result of this rationalisation, the budget for NESDO in 2010 was reduced by 34% from €5.059 million to €3.332 million, with potential for further significant administrative savings once the restructuring is implemented.

The CSO are implementing the recommendations of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure and are fully achieving the Special Group’s savings targets. The [796]restructuring savings are being achieved by a range of initiatives including a new organisation structure, consolidation of facilities management and re-engineering of business surveys.

The report recommends reducing the Census 2011 costs. Savings will arise primarily in 2011 and will be achieved by a range of actions including reduction in administration, advertising and field collection costs. These planned savings on the Census cost will be incorporated into the CSO 2011 estimates.

The McCarthy Group recommended that the Law Reform Commission, which is funded through the Vote of the Attorney General, be discontinued and that work on the Legislation Directory and on Statute Law Restatements currently undertaken by the Commission be transferred to the Office of the Attorney General, along with staff and relevant funds.

An alternative proposal from the Attorney General was subsequently accepted to the effect that the Commission’s annual budget would be reduced by 33% and this recommendation has now been implemented.

The report recommended that the Chief State Solicitor’s Office should seek further reductions in expert witness fees and professional fees. The Office and the Department of Finance responded to these recommendations in framing the 2010 Estimate for the Office, which shows a €1.8m reduction over the 2009 Estimate.

In common with all Departments and Offices, there has already been a reduction in staff numbers arising from Government policies introduced. In my Department the number of whole time equivalent staff employed has reduced by 10% since the end of 2008.

In summary, I can assure the House that my Department will make significant savings on expenditure in 2010, and that this process will be managed so as to minimise the disruption to the very valuable public services they provide.


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