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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 660-677
 Header Item Job Creation
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Sick Pay Scheme Reform
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Ministerial Adviser Appointments
 Header Item Consultancy Contracts Issues
 Header Item Ministerial Staff

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 660-677

Job Creation

 660. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of new jobs created by her Department as a result of the jobs initiative; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37283/12]

 661. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of new jobs created by her Department as a result of the action plan on jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37299/12]

 662. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of new jobs created by her Department as a result of budget 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37315/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 660 to 662, inclusive, together.

The Action Plan for Jobs, launched on 13 February 2012, is a matter for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. It is important to note that the Action Plan for Jobs is not a policy working in isolation from other actions. The Government’s statement on Labour Market Activation, Pathways to Work, sets out our strategy to ensure that that as many new job opportunities as possible are filled by those on the Live Register.

Departmental Expenditure

 663. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the total amount spent on taxis by her Department since February 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37331/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Since 1 February 2011 a total of €54,137 was spent on taxis by my Department. Taxis are used mainly by staff who travel as part of their official duties in instances where public transport is not available or practical at the time of travel. Taxis are also used by the Department’s Information Services operations area for secure delivery and retrieval of backup tapes to its computer data centres, for transport of equipment mainly in the Dublin area and to provide transport to staff out of hours, as the Department’s main computer data centre operates and is staffed 24 hours a day.

Departmental Staff Data

 664. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of press officers in her Department; the number of press officers in each agency under her auspices; the total cost of press officers in her Department and in agencies under her auspices; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37347/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton There are two Press Officers in my Department, both of whom are Higher Executive Officers. The standard salary scale for the grade is €43,816 to €55,415. In addition to salary, overtime amounting to €27,160 has been incurred by the Press Officers in the past 12 months. The statutory agencies that operate under the aegis of my Department are the Pensions Board and the Citizens Information Board. The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman also comes under the remit of my Department. None of these organisations have dedicated Press Officers.

Appointments to State Boards

 665. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the total number of board appointees she has nominated since she came to office; the names, salaries and expenses of each; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37363/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman (which does not have a board) comes under the remit of the Department.

  Social Welfare Tribunal

  The Social Welfare Tribunal consists of a Chairman and four ordinary members, two on the nomination of Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and two nominated by Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC). There has been one appointment to the Tribunal since I came into office. On the nomination of ICTU, Ms Chris Rowland, was appointed by me from 24 October 2011. No remuneration is paid to the members of the Tribunal. Members can claim expenses for attending both hearings and meetings, as set out below. They are also entitled to the standard travel and subsistence allowances if hearings/meetings involve travel.

Chairman
Hearing (per sitting day) 488.11
Meetings 73.44
Members -
Hearing (per sitting day) 136.71
Meetings 68.36
   

  Referrals to the tribunal are very infrequent and no such referrals have occurred for almost two years. For that reason, there was no expenditure in relation to the Social Welfare Tribunal in 2011 and there has been no expenditure in 2012 to date.

  Citizens Information Board

  I have made two appointments to the Citizens Information Board since coming into office. Mr.Eugene McErlean was appointed with effect from 7 September 2011 and is entitled to an annual fee of €5,985. On 1 November 2011, I appointed Ms. Fiona Ward but as she is the Department’s representative on the board she is not entitled to any fee. Neither of these appointees have claimed expenses since being appointed to the Board.

  Pensions Board

  I have made no appointments to the Pensions Board since I came into office.

Departmental Expenditure

 666. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will detail, in tabular form, the total photography costs for her Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37379/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Photography services are used, in conjunction with press releases and conferences, to communicate the Department’s initiatives, schemes and services to customers and to the regional and national media. Up to 7 September 2012, the Department has paid for use of photography services on seven occasions since March 2011, as set out in the table. The total cost was less than €3,100.

  The procurement of these photography services was carried out in accordance with national and EU procurement procedures. Since March 2012, the Department has been procuring photography services under the Framework Agreement established by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in February 2012. Full details of the Framework are available online via the National Procurement Services contract list at www.procurement.ie.   

Date Company Event Cost

29th July 2011 Maxwell Photography Launch of JobBridge – the National Internship Scheme 1,035.16
7th Nov 2011 Ark Photography Mortgage Arrears Seminar 254.10
9th Nov 2011 Ark Photography Social Inclusion Forum 254.10
21st Nov 2011 Ark Photography 2 Social Inclusion Projects 326.70
13th Feb 2012 Maxwell Photography Launch of the Partial Capacity Scheme 338.25
23rd Feb 2012 Maxwell Photography Launch of Pathways to Work 536.28
27th Apr 2012 Lensmen Photographic Agency Opening of a new Community Campus 280.44
    TOTAL 3,025.03

Sick Pay Scheme Reform

 667. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will publish the final report on her consultation on changes to the sick pay system; when she expects to bring proposals to Cabinet; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37402/12]

 680. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if a full cost-impact analysis on small business will be undertaken on her proposals to force employers to cover the cost of up to four weeks sick pay; if her attention has been drawn to the results of a recent Small Firms Association survey in relation to the impact that this proposal would have on small firms; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that this proposal will add to the cost of employment and will result in job losses and goes against the Government's action plan for job creation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37637/12]

 748. Deputy Peter Mathews Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton her views on a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38192/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 667, 680 and 748 together.

There are a number of compelling reasons why the Government is considering the introduction of a scheme of statutory sick pay at this time – firstly, as a measure to help in addressing the growing deficit in the social Insurance Fund; secondly, as a measure to limit progression from short-term illness to long-term illness or disability; and thirdly, to bring Ireland into line with practices in other countries in this area.

However, I am acutely conscious of the pressures facing employers in the current economic climate, and in particular, the pressures facing smaller and medium-sized enterprises, and I am aware of the opinions expressed by small firms in the recent survey conducted by the Small Firms Association (SFA) regarding the impact of the introduction of a scheme of statutory sick pay. The report of the seminar which I hosted in February 2012 has been published and the Department has also met separately with key stakeholders.

I can assure the House that the range of complex issues that need to be addressed before any decision could be taken by Government on the possible introduction of such a scheme – the extent of coverage; the rate of payment; possible compensation mechanisms for employers where appropriate and how the scheme would be enforced and policed – will be discussed in the course of the wider process associated with the preparation of Budget 2013, and the views of stakeholder groups, such as the SFA, will be taken into account in that process.

Departmental Expenditure

 668. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will detail, in tabular form, the total cost of providing entertainment for her Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which entertainment was provided; the entertainers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion; if there is a policy regarding the booking of entertainers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37451/12]

 669. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the amount spent on food and drink by her Department; if she will provide a breakdown of what this involved; the occasions on which food and drink was provided; those present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37467/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 668 and 669 together.

  In the period 1 March 2011 to 7 September 2012 a total of €119,271 was spent on food and drink by my Department as outlined in the following table.

Type of Expense Amount (€)
Beverages (Official Entertainment) 585
Lunches (Official Entertainment) 1,409
Refreshments/lunches provided at training courses 16,952
Catering Services/Supplies 99,379
Beverages (Customer Service Conference Expenses) 946
Total: 119,271


  Beverages and lunches (Official entertainment) includes lunches and refreshments provided at various functions hosted by the Minister and other departmental officials. The policy for entertainment allowances is governed by the Department of Finance circular 25/2000. Refreshments/lunches provided at training courses mainly relate to the purchase of refreshments and catering supplies for the provision of tea, coffee, biscuits, etc. by the Department’s Staff Development Units for training courses. Lunches were also provided at a small number of training courses. Catering Services/Supplies refers to tea, coffee and biscuits provided at various departmental meetings. Beverages (Customer Service Conference Expenses) relates to refreshments provided at Customer Focus/Services Group meetings.

  As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Social Protection employs more staff than any other Department. There were 7,011 people employed in the Department on 31 July 2012. The Department is also a very diverse organisation both in terms of the wide range of services it provides and in terms of the large number of locations at which it provides services. It operates out of almost 1,000 locations nationally, including 12 headquarters in Dublin and 10 decentralised locations outside Dublin, 66 local offices and it provides services at some 897 other locations throughout the State. This large scale and diversity necessitates a significant commitment to meetings, training and other interactions between staff and is also reflected in the incidental expenses associated with such interactions. For example, the food costs set out above in relation to training were incurred in the context of providing 7,513 training days from 1 March 2011 to 7 September 2012. This is an average of €2.26 per training day.

Departmental Expenditure

 670. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the amount spent on hair and make-up by her Department since she came to office; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37483/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton There have been no expenses incurred by my Department in respect of hair and make-up since I came to office.

Ministerial Adviser Appointments

 671. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number and names of all special advisers, special press advisers, or any other type of ministerial adviser in her Department; the name of the Minister of Minister of State to whom he or she reports; the salary of each adviser now; the salary of each adviser at the time he or she was appointed; if any salary increase was asked for; if it was granted; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37499/12]

 676. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the political activities of each special adviser, special press advisers, or any other type of ministerial adviser in her Department; if any of them were members of a political party; if so the parties to which they belonged; if any of them are or have been elected local authority members; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37580/12]

 677. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the amount spent by her Department on drivers and ministerial transport since February 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37596/12]

 892. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the names of special advisers for whom salary increases have been requested; the amount requested; the details of those granted increases and the amount by which they were increased; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [40025/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 671, 676, 677 and 892 together.

  The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the names and current salaries of my Special Advisors is set out in the tabular statement. There is no Minister of State attached to my Department.

TITLE NAME ANNUAL SALARY
Press Advisor Kathleen Barrington € 89,898
Special Advisor Edward Brophy €127,796


  The applicable pay scale grade for Special Advisers is the Principal Officer (standard) scale: €80,051 to €92,672.

Kathleen Barrington commenced duty on 18 July 2011, and was initially on a salary of €80,051 i.e. the first point of the Principal Officer pay scale. However, on the basis of her experience and qualifications, I sought sanction from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on 19 October 2011 to place her on a salary on par with her previous remuneration and received sanction to place her on the 3rd point of the scale i.e. €86,604 per annum. Ms. Barrington progressed to the next point of the scale i.e. €89,898 with effect from 18 July 2012.

  As Edward Brophy was previously employed in the private sector on a salary package that was more than twice the highest point of the Principal Officer (standard) scale, I sought sanction from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for remuneration in excess of the applicable pay scale grade. A single point salary of €127,796 was sanctioned by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform effective from 29 July 2011. This represents a reduction of over one third in my Special Adviser’s previous salary in the private sector.

  The restrictions under the terms of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour on civil servants engaging in political activity do not apply to Special Advisers and they can engage in political activity or join political parties if they wish. These are not matters for which my Special Advisers are accountable to me under their contracts of employment.

  The Government decided in March 2011 to confine the use of state cars from 1 May 2011. Accordingly, I now use my own car for official business. The travel /mileage rates payable depend on the car engine size and also incorporate a number of expense elements associated with the cost of running a car. These cost elements include insurance, full membership of AA/RAC, road tax and licence. The engine size of my car is 1400cc and the rate applicable is 46.25 cent per kilometre. The mileage costs, which I have claimed from 01 May 2011 to 30 June 2012 amount to €10,248.29.

  I have two civilian drivers. The total cost of employing two drivers from May 2011 to date is €72,422.13. This amount includes travel and subsistence allowances, which are in accordance with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform regulations for necessary absences on official duties from home and headquarters.

Consultancy Contracts Issues

 672. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will provide detail in tabular form of the names of all external public relations and consultancy persons and organisations used by her Department for the years 2011 and 2010; the amount paid to each; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37515/12]

 674. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will detail in tabular form the amount paid on external public relations and communications consultants since February 2011; the reason for the payment; the name of each organisation used; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37548/12]

 675. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will detail in tabular form the amount paid to consultants since February 2011; the name of each organisation used; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37564/12]

 678. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the total amount spent since February 2011 on external reports commissioned by her Department, including payments from ministerial allowances, details of the consultants employed and costs of each; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37628/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 672, 674, 675 and 678 together.

  The Department has a major programme of business, organisational and technological change underway to enable it to modernise the services which it provides to customers. The Department engages consultants for work which comes within the definition of ‘consultancy’ set out in Department of Finance guidelines - where a person or organisation provides intellectual or knowledge based services (e.g. expert analysis and advice) through delivering reports, studies, assessments, recommendations, proposals, etc. that contribute to decision making or policy making.

  The Department’s press office deals with all media queries and public relations matters. No money has been spent by my Department on public relations consultancy during the period in question.

  I do not draw down any Ministerial Allowances.

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following tables with expenditure incurred for the years 2010, 2011 and up to 31st   August 2012. I am satisfied that the procurement of consultancy services, including commissioning of reports, is essential to support the Department in providing a high quality service to the public in a cost effective and efficient manner and is governed by a comprehensive regulatory, legal and procedural framework.

YEAR: 2010

Contractor Purpose
ESRI SWITCH Model – Support for analysis of Budget proposals 150,000
Naked Objects Group Ltd SDM - Technical Development Advice 137,255
Naked Objects Group Ltd SDM - Business Objects Modelling Advice & Expertise 105,289
Deloitte & Touche Information Systems Audit Consultancy 67,175
ESRI Activation: customer Profiling & Case Management (APCM) 36,602
P.A Consulting Group ePayments RFI Evaluation 34,058
Ernst & Young Security Partner to provide ongoing Information Security Support 29,889
ESRI National Employment Action Plan Evaluation 25,924
Polaris Human Resources Provision of HR services 17,036
Deloitte & Touche Provision of Confidential Forensic Investigation Services 8,671
Petrus Consulting VFM Review of the Disability Allowance Scheme 2010 2,344
Camille Loftus Feasibility Study on Introduction of Single Social Assistance Payment for People of Working Age 1,800


YEAR: 2011
Contractor Purpose
Accenture Business Process Improvement 186,563
ESRI SWITCH Model – Support for analysis of Budget proposals 150,000
P.A Consulting Group Payments Strategy 111,142
Naked Objects Group Ltd SDM - Technical Development Advice 135,495
Naked Objects Group Ltd SDM - Business Objects Modelling Advice & Expertise 101,253
PricewaterhouseCoopers Review of Pension Charges 36,300
Deloitte & Touche Information Systems (IS) Internal Audit Services 14,792
SIRA Consultancy Administrative Burden Review 14,000
Mel Cousins & Associates Legal Research on Insurability issues & access to Legal Resources 7,744
Deloitte & Touche Confidential Forensic Investigation Services 7,109
Patrick Oliver Ryan Gender Recognition Advisor Group Report 7,000
Milliman Report on Funding Standard for Defined Benefit pension schemes 6,050
John Grenham Report on General Register Office 3,557
Mel Cousins & Associates Preparation & delivery of paper on Habitual Residence Clause 2,420
YEAR: 2011

Social Inclusion Division Consultancy *
Contractor Purpose
Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Social Inclusion Research Innovation Awards 50,000
ESRI Analysis & Measurement of Deprivation & Poverty 48,001
Trinity College Poverty Research Initiative Awards 9,788
UCD Poverty Research Initiative Awards 6,650
NUI Maynooth Poverty Research Initiative Awards 6,500
NUI Galway Poverty Research Initiative Awards 5,000
Crowleys DFK Audit of Financial Statement for EU Year 2010 4,816
Jane Pillinger Consultation and Development of a Code of Practice guide 2,000
Eleanor Ashe Proof Reading 1,750
Aiden Lloyd Rapporteur/Report Writer for SIF 1,500
Dr Mary Mulcahy Editing 1,422
Maureen Bassett Evaluation and Reporting of EU Year 2010 1,032
Kathy Walsh Evaluation and Reporting of EU Year 2010 726


* Social Inclusion Division was the responsibility of the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs prior to 1st   May 2011.

YEAR: 2012 (up to 31 August)
Contractor Purpose
OECD OECD Review of Long Term Pension Policy 130,000
Naked Objects Group Ltd SDM - Technical Development Advice 100,875
Accenture FÁS ICT Applications Systems Review 44,772
Naked Objects Group Ltd SDM - Business Objects Modelling Advice & Expertise 35,258
ESRI Analysis & measurement of Deprivation & Poverty 33,494
Creative Inc Design Work for National Employment & Entitlements Service (NEES) 24,777
Deloitte & Touché IS Internal Audit Services 18,714
PricewaterhouseCoopers Review of Pension Charges 12,300
Indecon Evaluation of the JobBridge National Internship Scheme 11,911
Baker, Tilly, Ryan & Glennon Provision of HR Services 11,147
Round Tower Mediation & Training Provision of HR Services 8,038
Ernst & Young Security Partner to provide ongoing Information Security Support 7,623
Carr Communications Media Training Programme 6,300
Compass Point Developing architecture for NEES 4,600
Digital Skills Academy Pathways to Work – Ancillary Services 2,665
Daniel Finn Pathways to Work – Consultation 650
Eleanor Ashe Proof Reading –Technical Poverty and Child Deprivation reports 600
Dr. Mark Tomlinson Peer Review Understanding Child Deprivation in Ireland 500

Ministerial Staff

 673. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the gross annual salary costs for her private and constituency offices at present; the same figures for this time last year; and the same figures for any Ministers of State in her Department; if she will make a statement on the matter.  [37532/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Details of the current gross annual salary costs in respect of my private and constituency offices in the Department and corresponding details for September 2011 are set out in the following table. There is no Minister of State attached to the Department.

September 2012 Number of Staff Gross Annual Salary

Private Office 7 451,862
Constituency Office 4 151,720
Total 11 603,582
September 2011 Number of Staff Gross Annual Salary

Private Office 7 440,705
Constituency Office 4 171,462
Total 11 612,167

  Questions Nos. 674 and 675 answered with Question No. 672.

  Questions Nos. 676 and 677 answered with Question No. 671.


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