The new child and family support agency will be established by way of primary legislation and will assume full statutory responsibility for a range of services including child welfare and protection services which are currently provided by the HSE, the National Educational Welfare Board and the Family Support Agency. When the agency is established it will constitute one of the largest public agencies in the State with a staff of more than 4,000 employees and a budget of over €550 million.
It represents one of the largest and most ambitious areas of public sector reform under way. Furthermore, the agency's onerous responsibilities in promoting the welfare of children are widely recognised as a priority.
As the majority of staff will transfer from the HSE, the established HSE salary structure is being used in respect of senior management positions. Mr. Gordon Jeyes is CEO–designate of the agency. Mr. Jeyes was recruited by the HSE in January 2011 as national director, children and family services. His recruitment followed an international search process and he brings with him experience of leading children's services in two other jurisdictions. We are very fortunate to have a man of his calibre leading our new agency given the legacy of child protection and the huge amount of work to be done. The salary rate approved for Mr. Jeyes' position with the HSE was agreed in 2011. The child and family support agency will have additional responsibility in terms of services and accountability and the salary for the CEO would be equivalent to that previously paid by the HSE.
With regard to the post of head of quality assurance in the new agency, it was not possible following a competitive process to source a candidate with the required professional and senior management expertise, on the advertised terms. It was imperative that the senior management team be in place to progress the necessary preparatory work for the agency's establishment, and in these circumstances approval was subsequently granted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for the filling of the quality assurance post on a once-off three year fixed-term contract basis, at the rate of €145,000 per annum. The post holder brings very significant international experience in the quality improvement of children’s services. We badly need this, as is very clear from the range of reports that we have all read. The post will be re-advertised by way of open competition in advance of the expiry of the fixed-term contract. All requirements for approval of this salary were fully complied with in advance of the post holder's taking up duties.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The other senior management posts of head of policy and planning, head of corporate and human resources, and head of finance were filled at the advertised terms, which are equivalent to the salary scale for the grade of assistant national director in the HSE. The post of chief operations officer remains to be filled, having previously been advertised unsuccessfully. The post of chief executive of the National Education Welfare Board is filled on a temporary-acting basis and it is also envisaged that this will be advertised at management team level prior to the functions of the board transferring to the new agency on its establishment.
I am satisfied that the above arrangements equip the agency with the necessary management skills and experience to discharge its onerous responsibilities on behalf of children and families in this crucial start-up phase of the agency's existence.