I am aware of representations from County Kildare VEC concerning staffing levels allocated to the committee's scheme and I have met with the VEC in the matter. The allocation of clerical, administrative and maintenance staff in the vocational education sector is made on a scheme wide basis and it is a matter for each vocational education committee to deploy sanctioned staff in the best manner possible to meet the needs of the committee and its schools. Any case for an increase in staffing has to be approached in the context of Government policy on public service numbers and staffing norms in the VEC sector as a whole.
My Department carried out an examination of the staffing levels in County Kildare VEC in 1995. In addition, an independent consultant evaluated the grading structure of the VEC. Arising from these reports, the clerical staff complement for County Kildare VEC was increased from 15.8 to 17.8 posts and a new senior management grade was created in the committee. This allocation was arrived at on the basis that it compared favourably with other schemes of similar size.
The recommendation of the independent consultant was that the need for the appointment of an assistant principal officer in the VEC should be reviewed at a later date. My Department has agreed to have this review carried out and my officials will shortly be engaging with the committee and IMPACT, the union which represents the clerical and administrative staff in the VEC sector, concerning the detailed arrangements for this review. The committee is aware of this position.