Reforming, reshaping and refocusing the public sector will mean better service delivery – Deering.

18th November, 2011

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, has said the public service reform measures outlined by the Government will ensure a more streamlined and efficient public service that is better equipped to deliver improved services.

“From day one, this Government has led the charge when it comes to political reform in ensuring that change starts at the top. The pay of the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Ministers has been reduced, Ministerial ‘mercs and preks’ have been eradicated, new pay ceilings have been introduced for senior public servants and legislation has been published to reduce public sector pensions.

“The Government has taken the reform agenda one step further by committing to reduce public sector numbers, axing quangos and State bodies, drawing a line under decentralisation and cutting back on excessive annual leave entitlements for the public sector.

“The Public Service Reform Plan contains almost 70 recommendations and 200 cost saving and efficiency producing actions. These include the sharing of services in the areas of HR, payroll and pensions, to streamline operations and remove duplicate activities.

“Public service numbers are to be radically scaled back, with a reduction, through natural wastage, of 23,500 posts by 2015. At that point, public service numbers will have fallen by some 37,500, or 12%, since 2008, reducing our pay bill by over €2.5 billion. This will result in a leaner and more efficient public service that is capable of delivering more with less.

“The number of State bodies and quangos is also set to be reduced with the rationalisation of 48 bodies by the end of 2012, and a review of a further 46 bodies planned by the end of June next year.  To ensure that the number of State bodies never again balloons as it did under the previous administration, a ‘sunset clause’ is to be contained in State body legislation ensuring that the body will cease to exist after a predetermined date unless its mandate has been specifically renewed.

“A line has also been drawn under what is often considered the most ill-judged and badly planned ideas of the last government: decentralisation. And annual leave allowances have been standardised, with the abolition of historically based local leave arrangements such as festival and race days for staff. This will lead to greater uniformity of terms and conditions and will enhance the fluid movement of staff between different sectors and organisations.

“A lack of political leadership has acted as a barrier to the delivery of an efficient public service for too long. Public servants have been trapped in a system that has stifled their productivity and frustrated their development. These reform measures will make for a more slimmed down and fitter public sector that is able to realise its true potential in delivering for all citizens.”