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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 528-541
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Sick Leave
 Header Item Capital Expenditure
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Grades
 Header Item Parliamentary Party Allowances
 Header Item Departmental Staff Training
 Header Item Freedom of Information Requests
 Header Item Civil Service Language Centre
 Header Item Gaeleagras Status
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Abolition
 Header Item Departmental Contracts
 Header Item Office of Public Works Rationalisation Programme
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Increment Payments
 Header Item Pension Provisions

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. 528-541

Public Sector Staff Sick Leave

 528. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will support a matter (details supplied). [38111/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My Department is in the process of reforming sick leave provisions for the public service. We will implement our changes over the coming months. In this context, we will consider the ability of public servants to claim loss of earnings against a third party in the event of a personal injury claim.

Capital Expenditure

 529. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide a list of the payments made by the State to private landowners in 2010 and 2011 to acquire land for use in the public capital programme.  [38303/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My Department does not maintain a central database of such payments. Accordingly, I have copied the question to all Departments for reply directly to the Deputy. In respect of my own Department, and the Offices and Agencies under the remit of my Department, no such payments have been made during the period in question.

Public Sector Staff Grades

 530. Deputy John Paul Phelan Information on John Paul Phelan Zoom on John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the different grades that currently exist within the public service: and if he will detail the entry level pay levels associated with each grade. [38368/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin Information on general service grades is available from my Department's website, www.per.gov.ie. I wish to bring the Deputy’s attention to Circular 28/2009 dated 22 December 2009 - Revisions of pay of Civil Servants: Application of pay adjustments in accordance with the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 at www.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/circ282009.pdf and Circular 18/2010 dated 23 December 2010 - Reduction of 10% in the pay rates and fixed term allowances of persons to be recruited to certain direct entry grades to the Civil Service at www.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/circ182010.pdf. I am arranging for copies of these circulars to be forwarded to the Deputy. Details in respect of particular Departmental grades can be obtained from each Government Department.

Parliamentary Party Allowances

 531. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin when he will bring forward changes to the party leader's allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38455/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 3 of 13 June 2012.

Departmental Staff Training

 532. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the amount of money spent on an annual basis on education and training of staff in 2011 and to date in 2012; the number of staff that availed of each course; if he will provide a list of the courses staff undertook and the cost of each course per person. [38490/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was established in July 2011 and approximately €55,000 was spent on training and educational requirements of staff in the period between July and December 2011. The training and development budget for 2012 is €174,000. To date, approximately €60,000 has been spent on the central training and education of staff with further financial commitments to be realised by the end of the year.

Freedom of Information Requests

 533. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if his attention has been drawn to the delay in making review determinations on freedom of information cases in the Office of the Information Commissioner where there are now more than 175 reviews on hand some of which were received in 2009; the number of investigators employed in the Office of the Information Commissioner over each of the past four years; if he will outline proposals that will deal with the backlog of cases in order that determinations are made within four months of being received; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38643/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin As the Deputy is aware, under the Freedom of Information Acts the Information Commissioner is independent in the performance of her functions. My Department has been informed by the Office of the Information Commissioner that at the end of August 2012, there were 209 applications for review awaiting decision in the Office, including 16 applications which were received in 2009 and which require the consideration of complex issues and/or large volumes of records. The Deputy may wish to note that as set out in the Information Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2011 published in May 2012, 57% of cases closed last year were over one year old reflecting specific initiatives aimed at closing older cases. In addition, the length of time taken to deal with each application depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the issues involved and the volume of records at issue.

  I am advised that the Information Commissioner is very conscious of the statutory requirement that reviews are completed, in so far as practicable, within four months of receipt. With this in mind, the Information Commissioner has recently arranged for resources to be reassigned within her office to reduce the number of cases on hand. An examination of current structures and processes is also actively under way to optimise the number of reviews completed within four months. The Information Commissioner stated in her Annual Report that her Office will continue to endeavour to close cases within four months while also concentrating on older cases.

  The information requested by the Deputy on investigative staffing levels of the Office for the past four years is set out in the following table.

- 2008 2009 2010 2011
Senior Investigator 2 2 2 1
Investigator 9.4 8.8 8.8 9

Civil Service Language Centre

 534. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin further to Parliamentary Question No. 245 of 26 June 2012, the progress that has been made with the strategic review of the future direction of the Civil Service Language Centre; if he will detail the relevant parties that were consulted; if Russian and Chinese were offered in the past and if they will be offered again in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38644/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My Department is still in deliberations regarding the future direction of the Civil Service Language Centre. As such, no further details beyond those provided in answer to Question No. 245 of 26 June 2012 are available at this time.

Gaeleagras Status

 535. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin further to Parliamentary Question No. 246 of 26 June 2012, the progress that has been made on the way Gaeleagras can best achieve the delivery of its mandate; the courses that Gaeleagras will offer in the forthcoming academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [38645/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin My Department is still in deliberations regarding the mandate of Gaeleagras. As such, no further details beyond those provided in answer to Question No. 246 of 26 June 2012 are available at this time.

Appointments to State Boards

 536. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will outline, in tabular form, both the number and the percentage of women and men on State boards under the aegis of his Department in each of the past ten years; if he will provide the most up-to-date figures available regarding the number and percentage of women and men on State boards under the aegis of his Department in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38862/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The following is the position in respect of the number and percentage of women and men on State boards under the aegis of my Department:

Public Appointments Service

Dates Number Males % Males Number Females % Females
October 2004-October 2007 4 44% 5 56%
February 2008-February 2011 6 67% 3 33%
September 2011- Date* 4 50% 4 50%
*There is one vacancy on the Board, as a Board Member (male) who was appointed subsequently resigned.

An Post National Lottery Company
Year Number of women on the Board Number of men on the Board Percentage of women on the Board

(rounded)
Percentage of men on the Board

(rounded)
Vacancies
2002 1 6 14% 86% 0
2003 1 6 14% 86% 0
2004 1 6 14% 86% 0
2005 1 6 14% 86% 0
2006 2 4 33% 67% 1
2007 2 5 29% 71% 0
2008 2 5 29% 71% 0
2009 2 5 29% 71% 0
2010 2 5 29% 71% 0
2011 2 5 29% 71% 0
2012 1 5 17% 83% 1


Under the National Lottery Act 1986, the Board of the National Lottery Company consists of seven directors who are appointed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Four directors, including the chairman, are nominated by the majority shareholder of the Company – An Post – while the remaining three directors are nominated by the Minister. There is one vacancy on the Board at present. This vacancy is in respect of one of the directors to be nominated by the Minister.

Departmental Bodies Abolition

 537. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin the number of quangos that have been abolished to date; the number of quangos that are due to be abolished by the end of 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38968/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin I refer the Deputy to my answer to Question No. 281 of Thursday, 19 July 2012.

Departmental Contracts

 538. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin his plans to ensure that Irish printers have an opportunity to bid for Government printing contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38973/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes Irish printers are welcome to bid for all publicly advertised Government printing contracts. In common with other contracts for supplies and services, all central government printing contracts where the estimated value excluding VAT exceeds €130,000 are advertised on the Government's public procurement website, www.etenders.gov.ie, as well as in the Official Journal of the European Union. Guidelines set out in Department of Finance Circular 10/10 on Facilitating SME Participation in Public Procurement, require that all contracts for supplies and general services with an estimated value of €25,000 and upwards are now to be advertised by contracting authorities on the eTenders website. In addition, the National Procurement Service maintains on its website, www.procurement.ie, a panel of suppliers who have expressed interest in tendering for public contracts for Printing, Binding and Ancillary operations, where the estimated contract value is below €25,000 and where there is no Framework Agreement/Drawdown contract currently in place. This panel is available to all public sector buyers.

Office of Public Works Rationalisation Programme

 539. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will provide details of the Office of Public Works State office accommodation portfolio rationalisation programme broken down by Government Department; the total saving arising from the OPW rationalisation programme for 2012 and projected savings in 2013 and 2014; and the number of the OPW State office accommodation properties that are leased or tied into upward-only rent agreements.  [39186/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brian Hayes): Information on Brian Hayes Zoom on Brian Hayes The information sought by the Deputy on the departmental breakdown of leases surrendered is as follows:

Departmental Breakdown No. -
Revenue Commissioners 32 Revenue and Customs & Excise
Social Protection 24 Social Protection Offices
Garda 16 Garda
Probation & Welfare 6 Probation & Welfare Service
Justice, Equality & Law Reform 7 Justice
Courts Service 2 Courts
Agriculture 8 Agriculture
Education & Science 6 Education
Road Safety Authority, Driving Test Centres 10 RSA
Other 16 Multiple Occupiers


The total number of surrenders between 2008 and the end of 2011 was 163. There were 14 surrenders in the first quarter of 2012. The total number of surrenders across the two periods is 177. On the 2012-13 office rationalisation programme, the projected savings targeted in 2012 are €5 million. The surrenders targeted in 2013 are commercially sensitive at this time. The number of buildings and the associated number of leases providing ‘office’ accommodation are 380 and 444 respectively, of which 106 buildings and 125 leases have upward-only rent review clauses.

Public Sector Staff Increment Payments

 540. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin if he will outline the level of the aggregate reduction in the public sector pay bill if the pay relativities which applied across the public sector prior to the implementation of the Buckley Report recommentations, were restored, while holding the current rates of pay of middle income and clerical public servants constant and taking the current salary of a HEO in the Civil Service as the base line; if he will provide a breakdown of said aggregate figure, by Department in the core Civil Service and by sector in the public service. [39209/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Exchequer pay bill is a function of employee numbers, salary points and the mix and range of salary points which vary from year to year. The detailed data necessary to undertake an exercise to determine the estimated impact on the Exchequer Pay Bill across the public service from a revision of the current relativities to December 2004 (pre Buckley Report) levels is not available to my Department. As an indicative exercise, the table that follows this reply details the existing pay rates of a number of civil service grades (max point) including those covered by the Buckley report in September 2000, their pay relativities to the HEO Grade as a base (pre Buckley Report rate) and similar data for those civil service grades at current salary rates. The data shows that the impact of public service pay control measures including the pension related reduction (effective from 1 March 2009), pay reduction (effective from 1 January 2010), together with the reduced pay levels and public service pay cap imposed by this Government at senior levels have been progressive and largely negated the impact of excessive senior civil service pay awards including the 15.9% awarded under the Buckley Report to senior grades in September 2000.

Grade April 2000 max pay 2000 ratio to HEO 2012 max pay * 2012 ratio to HEO 2012 with Pay Related Deduction 2012 net ratios
Sec Gen 1 €128,597 3.46 €200,000 3.43 €181,050 3.34
Sec Gen 2 €121,539 3.27 €200,000 3.43 €181,050 3.34
Sec Gen 3 €115,100 3.27 €189,474 3.25 €171,629 3.17
Dep Sec €92,168 2.48 €173,684 2.98 €157,497 2.91
Ass Sec €78,516 2.11 €153,885 2.64 €139,777 2.58
Principal €93,733 1.78 €103,472 1.78 €94,657 1.75
AP €72,266 1.35 €80,678 1.38 €74,257 1.37
HEO €52,136   €58,294   €54,215  

Pension Provisions

 541. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin when the next review of public sector pensions will take place (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39266/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The regular preparation and publication of actuarial assessments of public service pension costs is an important part of policy formulation. In this regard, I believe work should begin as soon as possible on a new actuarial assessment of public service pension costs, taking account of the recent significant changes in public service pay, pensions and numbers. Using the analysis in the 2009 Comptroller and Auditor General’s Special Report on Public Service Pensions as a starting point, my Department will shortly discuss the most appropriate approach in this regard with that Office.


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