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Written Answers - Public Service Reform

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 262.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin  his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16379/12]

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin As the Deputy will be aware, this Government is committed to far reaching reform of the Public Service and providing better value for money in service delivery.

The Government’s Public Service Reform Plan, which was published last November, outlines the priority actions and timelines for reform. These reforms reflect five major commitments to change, namely:

placing customer service at the core of everything we do;

maximising new and innovative service delivery channels;

radically reducing costs to drive better value for money;

leading, organising and working in new ways; and

a strong focus on implementation and delivery.

As part of the Reform Plan, the Government has set a target of reducing public service staff numbers to 282,500 by end-2015, from a peak of 320,000 in 2008. The number of staff working in the Public Service continues to fall, with the provisional outturn for end-2011 standing at 296,900, which means that there has already been a reduction of over 23,000 and that we are now at close to the 2005 staffing levels.

In the context of these reduced numbers, together with the changed economic environment, it is necessary to look at new ways of working that use fewer resources and that provide real value for money for the Irish taxpayer by maximising efficiency and eliminating waste. This includes, for example, a strong focus on making greater use of technology and online service delivery; increased use of shared services to reduce costs across all sectors of the Public Service; a coordinated programme to improve key business processes; rationalisation of State Agencies and other bodies; and reorganisation of Public Service structures to ensure a more efficient, responsive and customer orientated Public Service.

The Reform Plan also commits to the identification and evaluation of further potential non-core activities suitable for external service delivery. My Department has recently written to all [805]Departments and Offices requesting them to carry out an assessment of potential areas of work/processes, both new and existing, within their Departments/Offices or wider sectors that could be done on a more cost effective basis through alternative delivery mechanisms and to report back with suggestions in this area. This information will form the basis for an integrated approach to the use of alternative services delivery models in the Public Service.

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