The Government has today published its extensive programme of public sector reform. Amongst the measures contained within the programme is the rationalisation of state agencies, a reduction of staff numbers in the public sector and the halting of decentralisation plans. The programme outlines almost 70 recommendations and 200 key actions to be taken.
48 bodies are due to be rationalised by the end of 2012, and there will be a review of a further 46 bodies by the end of June next year. Some examples include: merging of the National Roads Authority with the Railway Procurement Agency, the abolition of the Bord Iascaigh Mharaigh, the merging of the Commission for Communication Regulation with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and a merger of the Digital Hub Development Authority with Enterprise Ireland/IDA.
The decentralisation programme, announced by the previous Government in 2003 and includes 40 projects is to be cancelled. 32 projects will be left in situ while 22 others will be reviewed further.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD also said that he has approved final proposals for the standardisation of annual leave and they have been sent to the Public Service unions for approval.
Further elements of the reform agenda are detailed below:
- The introduction of initiatives to improve citizen’s access to and interaction with Government services including the new Public Services Card, online publication of information and the establishment of a new single awarding authority for student grants.
- The maximisation of new and innovative service delivery channels through the use of technology such as www.gov.ie and other electronic services and increased use of cloud computing from 2012.
- A reduction in public spending to drive greater efficiency through a reduction in staff numbers by 23,500 by 2015 from the end of 2010 levels, implementation of new business models, a rationalisation of the state’s property portfolio, reduced maintenance costs, increase income through the sale of state assets and reform of the public procurement system through the development of a new policy framework.
- The development of new ways of working in the delivery of services for example the streamlining of administrative operations and the commencement of HR, payroll and pensions shared services projects.
- A strong focus on implementation and delivery which will involve the alignment of senior leadership teams across the Public Service around a common plan and set of deliverables. This will be primarily conducted by the Cabinet Committee on Public Service Reform and the newly established Reform and Delivery Office and its recently recruited Director.