Written Answers. - Local Government Funding.

John McGuinness

Question:

270 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the extra costs which have been incurred by his Department in each county in implementing BLG; the extra posts in management which have been created in each county; the costs involved; if a value for money audit is in place and ongoing in relation to BLG; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15052/02]

Better Local Government – a Programme for Change recognised the need to strengthen political and management structures in local authorities to ensure they were better positioned to meet future demands for delivery of quality services. The new management structures involved inter alia the creation of a new grade of director of services at assistant manager level, the creation of a new grade of senior executive officer at county secretary level and making senior engineer level technical posts available across local authorities generally. It was a matter for each local authority to decide on the appropriate numbers of posts in each grade for that authority.

My Department has not incurred extra costs as a result of this process. Expenditure arising as a result of additional staffing costs, however aris ing, is a matter for local authorities in the context of the determination of their annual estimates. The funding of such expenditure is from a variety of sources, including the local government fund and other State grants, rates, fees and charges.
While the cost of implementing the new structures in individual local authorities is not available, it was estimated in April, 2001, that the overall additional annual salary costs arising from the creation of the new management and staffing structures envisaged under the BLG programme was €19,05 million exclusive of costs arising under the county-city development boards and separate reviews of finance and IT functions.
There is no value for money audit in place and ongoing in relation to BLG. However, each manager is expected to continuously monitor his or her staffing numbers and deployment to ensure that they are appropriate to the current needs and demands of the local authority.