Written Answers. - Departmental Reform.

498.Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on the progress of reform under Delivering Better Government aimed at cutting red tape in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1536/99]

The Department has always sought to minimise red tape and to facilitate the transaction of business in the most efficient manner possible. Delivering Better Government acknowledged the scope for further improvement in this area in the Civil Service generally. The second report of the implementation group on the Strategic Management Initiative (June 1998) stated that, in relation to the regulatory reform proposals set out in Delivering Better Government, it would "consult with Secretaries General and prepare proposals on these issues prior to submission to the Government." These enhanced arrangements, which are currently the subject of a memorandum under preparation at the Department of the Taoiseach, will be implemented by all Departments as soon as they are ratified by the Government.

The quality customer service initiative, in which this Department is participating, aims, among other things, to minimise certain aspects of red tape. The Department's publication, Improving Customer Service: An Action Plan 1998-1999, sets out standards in this regard and includes detailed codes of practice for receiving personal callers to the Department, for use of the telephone by the Department's staff, and for handling the Department's correspondence. A quality customer service officer has been appointed to support the plan.