I am pleased to be present for this Supplementary Estimate. I am joined by Mr. Donncha O'Sullivan, Mr. Seamus Clifford, Mr. Frank Maher and Ms Downey, who is in the building and may be joining us shortly. I thank members of the committee for making time available for this consideration.
The net amount of the Supplementary Estimates is €59 million for the Garda Vote, €10 million for the Prisons Vote and €8 million for the Department of Justice and Equality Vote. The Courts Service Vote does not require additional Exchequer funding but requires that surplus receipts of €600,000 are used to offset current expenditure requirements in a technical Supplementary Estimate. The remaining Votes in the group for the Policing Authority and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission will remain within budget and have surrender balances of approximately €2.7 million at the end of the year.
A Supplementary Estimate requirement of €59 million arises in respect of the Garda Síochána Vote this year. This comprises a gross expenditure requirement of €76.2 million, which is offset by a projected surplus in appropriations-in-aid of €17.2 million giving a net additional requirement of €59 million. An additional €46.4 million is being made available to meet payroll and overtime costs, including the Garda College subhead. The additional requirement for pay and allowances is €23.7 million and €22.7 million relates to overtime. I am pleased that in budget 2019, an additional €72 million will be provided for Garda pay and allowances, which provides for the costs of accelerated Garda and civilian recruitment and costs associated with pay agreements. There are additional requirements under a number of other administrative and operational subheads, including travel and subsistence, expenses associated with road traffic policing, maintenance of Garda premises, certain other station services, and clothing and operational equipment amounting to €30 million after offsetting underspends in other areas.
The offsetting underspends arise across subheads such as superannuation due to fewer retirements than expected, at €2.5 million, and compensation, at €1.8 million. There are surplus receipts of approximately €17 million, mainly accounted for by pay-related pension deductions. This is directly related to the increased expenditure on pay and overtime and the Supplementary Estimate is making these additional receipts available to offset a proportion of the overtime and payroll cost. The Supplementary Estimate also includes the reprofiling of €6.649 million in the capital building and refurbishment programme, €3.581 million which it is proposed to carry forward to next year under the capital carryover provisions, and the balance of €3.068 million being reallocated to ICT capital. This is to balance a similar reallocation at the end of last year when a corresponding amount from the ICT budget was reallocated to the building programme.
A total capital allocation of more than €92 million is being made available to the Garda Vote next year. This will facilitate significant further investment in leading edge ICT of €64.8 million, €10 million for transport, and €17.5 million for the capital building and refurbishment programme. The current Supplementary Estimate process and the increased budgetary provision for the Vote in 2019 provide An Garda Síochána with the financial resources to address the challenges it faces and, significantly, to support the ongoing reform programme, which will gain further momentum from the implementation of the recommendations in the report on the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The recommendations in the report are comprehensive and far-reaching and provide a blueprint for future development of the policing service in Ireland. Specifically, on the financial front, it recommends the production of a costed policing plan presented in a multi-annual framework. While the details have yet to be fully worked out, this has the potential to significantly change the way in which budgets and expenditure are presented in the future, including to this committee. I look forward to the output from this process.
A Supplementary Estimate of €10 million is required for the Prisons Vote. The requirement arises across a number of subheads, including pay and additional allowances of €1.997 million, travel and subsistence of €548,000, staff training and recruitment of €1.1 million, building and equipment, mainly maintenance costs, of €2.6 million, prison and operational services at a cost of €2.3 million and compensation payments of €2.4 million. There are offsetting underspends available of €2.129 million, including surplus appropriations-in-aid of €1.5 million, which has reduced the net funding requirement to €10 million. There have been pressures on a number of the non-pay subheads in question in recent years but it has been possible to offset some of the costs from underspends in other subheads, including payroll. This is not possible in 2018 as there are increased payroll costs arising from a pay agreement integrating rent allowance with basic pay. While recruitment is ongoing in the Prison Service, it is not yet at the point, coupled with retirements, that all vacancies are covered. It is necessary to fill some of the staffing shortfall through increased additional hours payments. A number of once-off costs arose this year in respect of training expenditure, for example, where alternative accommodation had to be used while the training college in Portlaoise was being renovated.
In addition, particularly in respect of the maintenance expenditure, the severe weather conditions earlier in the year, the collapse of the Mountjoy circular roof and certain other unplanned works gave rise to some additional expenditure.
Turning to the justice and equality Vote, there is a requirement for an additional €8 million in the current year. This mainly arises across criminal legal aid and asylum accommodation with a combined projected overspend of just under €26 million. However, in a Vote with in excess of 60 subheads across five programmes, there are a number of underspends and overspends against budget which have contributed to reducing the additional Exchequer funding requirement to €8 million.
The budgetary arithmetic underpinning the Supplementary Estimate requirement takes account of the various under and overspends across the budget. As outlined, the areas of overspend relate to criminal legal aid, €15.7 million, and asylum accommodation, €10 million. The volume of cases arising from criminal activity before the courts is increasing and this has a proportionate increase in the criminal legal aid budget. The upward trend in the number of legal aid certificates granted increased by 18% in 2017 and this trend is continuing in the current year. There is also evidence that the length and complexity of cases is contributing to the increased costs.
Another demand-led area of the Vote relates to asylum accommodation. The number in accommodation is approximately 14% higher than this time last year. The number of persons seeking international protection has increased significantly in the past 12 months, which has a direct impact on the numbers in accommodation. Arising from the increased demand, it has been necessary to open six new accommodation centres providing 567 new bed spaces to date this year. This contributes to additional budgetary costs.
An additional provision of €2.4 million is being provided to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal. This brings the total the total allocation to €6.7 million for 2018 and the budget mainly relates to the payment of awards made by the tribunal. The areas that have reduced the additional Exchequer funding required to €8 million include surplus receipts in respect of immigration registration and visa fees of about €7 million, underspends on payroll across a number of subheads, including Probation Service, €2.5 million; Data Protection Commissioner, €2.2 million; and Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, €3 million. This is mainly due to the delays in recruitment such that a full year staffing cost is not reflected in 2018.
There is also an underspend of €5 million in the capital budget for the forensic science laboratory, after proposed capital carryover to 2019, pending the issue of an updated request for tender which is now expected to issue shortly with commencement of the main construction works in 2019. Preparatory works on the site of some €2 million were carried out during 2018.
The transformation programme in my Department is well under way with the internal teams and structures in place and an external support contract to be awarded to the successful bidder shortly.
A technical Supplementary Estimate of €1,000 is required in respect of the courts Vote. This is mainly to offset certain administrative costs by a projected surplus of €600,000 in appropriations-in-aid arising from court fees. It is also proposed that an underspend of €2.5 million in capital will be carried forward under the capital carryover provisions in 2019 and utilised for the implementation of a number of key ICT and reform projects.
In conclusion, I recommend the Supplementary Estimate to the committee and I am happy to address any queries or questions and listen to any observations the committee might have.