I thank the Deputy for the question. I am pleased to set out the remarkable achievements we have made in three years. There have been two phases to the rationalisation programme for State bodies, involving two separate tranches of rationalisation measures.
As I explained to the House in February when the Deputy last inquired about this matter, the Government made two commitments in 2011 shortly after taking office. The first was to begin immediately implementation of phase one of the rationalisation programme, which involved 48 measures. Each measure had multiple impacts. The second commitment was to review a further 46 measures targeted at broader rationalisation that would constitute phase two. Through implementation of both phases, the Government set two high level targets against which the success of the programme could be measured. As we set out in 2011, the first target was to achieve savings of €20 million for the Exchequer. The second target was to reform this sector of the State system - meaning a less crowded administrative landscape, reduced duplication, greater democratic accountability and clearer lines of responsibility.
In overall terms, the latest assessment by my Department, based on information provided, is that measures involving more than 90% of the bodies we set out to have merged, rationalised or abolished have been completed. That means that there are 169 fewer State bodies than when we took office in 2011, with a further 12 yet to be abolished.
That is a remarkable achievement in three years.
The same analysis shows that Exchequer savings of more than €18 million have been achieved to date, with a further €9 million profiled to come in when the final phase is achieved. That is €27 million in savings to the Exchequer. Of the €18 million already achieved, €15 million is a recurring annual saving accruing, while €3 million is revenue from a once-off property disposal. Of the further €9 million profiled to come in, the Deputy will understand from his own background that, just as in the private sector, some mergers have upfront costs, which is why there is a delay in the additional €9 million coming in.
In addition to these figures, the latest assessment suggests net savings of a further €40 million will accrue annually to the local authority sector on foot of the reform and rationalisation measures that have been taken. There is a lot more detail that I will supply to the Deputy, but it has been a remarkable achievement.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
Regarding the rationalisation programme's second key target of reform, as I have mentioned, as a result of the programme there are 169 fewer State bodies today than there were in 2011. A total of 141 bodies have effectively been abolished and moved into existing public service structures, while 51 old bodies have been streamlined into 23 new bodies. In doing this the Government has tackled duplication and streamlined citizen access and accountability.
The Deputy also asks about the newly created bodies. A small number of new bodies have been established in recent years to address urgent matters of concern to the Government such as systematic failings of oversight or a need for new resources to tackle priority issues around job creation and unemployment. For such reasons, the Government has established the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, the Credit Union Restructuring Board, Microfinance Ireland, the Insolvency Service of Ireland and the Charities Regulatory Authority. There will also be a new policing authority in the near future. These are critical bodies responding to important issues of value to the State and the citizens. It reinforces the point that State bodies play an important and legitimate part in implementing Government policy and delivering public services. What is essential is that this happen in a structured and coherent manner and that their impact and performance are understood, reviewed and managed. To this end, new provisions will be included in an updated code of practice for the governance of State bodies which will be published later this year and ensure a smarter and more targeted use of State bodies into the future.