Written Answers. - Training Facilities.

8.

asked the Minister for the Public Service the training facilities within the Civil Service for new recruited staff; the duration of such training; if there is formal retraining at any stage for promoted staff; and in particular, if there is any management training courses for staff in senior posts.

A basic feature of my Department's approach to training in the Civil Service is that courses should be provided at each level in the structure, both for new recruits and for promotees to these levels, at which officers are acquainted with the role, functions and responsibilities appropriate to their level. Responsibility for the provision of these courses to grades below higher executive officer level rests with Departments, each of which has a departmental training officer. The courses which they provide vary in duration (from one-five days) depending on the level at which they are aimed and the particular needs of the area to which the officers are assigned. Departmental training officers also provide a range of other courses for staff with some experience in their grades covering such topics as communications skills, dealing with the public and information technology as well as meeting the specialist requirements of particular sections.

Management training for middle management grades up to assistant principal level have been held in the Civil Service Training Centre for almost ten years. In the last few years, the centre has extended its courses to cover principals, assistant secretaries and secretaries and their professional and departmental equivalents. These management courses, which are residential and normally run for three-five days, cover such topics as staff management, managing for results and communications. In addition, familiarisation courses in information technology have been provided for these grades and are being extended to all management grades.

Since the publication of the White Paper,Serving the Country Better, all officers promoted at management level — general administrative, departmental and professional/technical — are required to attend the appropriate course.

The centre also organises a wide range of development courses for management grades which affords officers an opportunity to focus on specific areas of managerial skills or knowledge which are of particular interest to them. Of course, officers at this level also attend courses in other training institutes, where appropriate.