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Written Answers - Public Service Staff

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 195.  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 rescind the recruitment embargo on the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6286/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Government is committed to reducing the Public Service number to 282,500 by 2015. Given the importance of meeting this challenging numbers target, the moratorium on recruitment will remain in place. Any exceptions to the moratorium will continue to be directed towards areas of most need.

In order to mitigate the impact on frontline service provision as far as possible, with the co-operation and flexibility of individual public servants, we will fully use the mechanisms set out in Public Service Reform Plan, including the filling of essential posts and the utilisation of redeployment. Public Service Organisations must fully use all options for discharging work through reorganisation and redeployment of staff. Only after this will the issue of recruitment for current or emerging business needs arise.

Should a Department identify a potential exception to the moratorium on recruitment the sanction of my Department must then be sought. Exceptions to the Moratorium may be granted on the following basis:

a) statutory posts which have to be filled for legal reasons;

b) where failure to fill posts would result in a breach of EU/international regulations and impact upon exports, etc.;

c) safety related posts — failure to fill them could leave the state open to potential legal liabilities or for security reasons;

d) specialist/technical posts to ensure continuity of operations e.g. legal officers, laboratory staff, maritime safety, etc.;

e) to ensure continuity of frontline services.

In addition, in the case of the Education and Health Sector, special arrangements apply that allow for limited recruitment in essential frontline services.

Each Sector in the Public Service has been establishing its own Strategic Workforce Planning Group to ensure that sectoral employers are developing plans to deal with the operational and strategic consequences arising from staffing reductions. The sectoral groups are feeding into a central Strategic Workforce Planning Forum under my Department. Factors such as emerging demographic gaps in management grades will also be considered; measures such as the recently advertised graduate recruitment competition at Administrative Officer level will address such gaps.

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