Written Answers. - Consultant's Report.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1024 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to a recent consultant's report on the school meals scheme which was commissioned by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs; his views on the recommendations, specifically, that which recommends that his Department should take responsibility for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2210/99]

The Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs has sent copies of the consultant's report to my Department and officials from both Departments have made preliminary contact on this matter. It is that Department's intention to initiate a formal programme evaluation of the school meals scheme, using the consultant's report as a basis for the examination. However that programme evaluation has not yet commenced largely because that Department has been concentrating on the evaluation of other programmes but also because it is awaiting the outcome of a pilot project in relation to school meals which it is supporting in conjunction with the PAUL partnership in Limerick city.

My officials have been informed by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs that it is expected that it will be in a position to initiate the formal programme evaluation of the school meals scheme in the near future. My officials will of course co-operate fully with that examination.