Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (76)

Joan Burton

Question:

189 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made to date in regard to the implementation of the Civil Service action plan drawn up to meet the requirements of the benchmarking process within his own Department and within the public service generally; if the Civil Service performance verification group has decided that the level of progress warrants the payment of the general round of the benchmarking award on 1 January 2004; if payments will be withheld in any sector due to failure to make adequate progress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30090/03]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

My Department's modernisation action plan was drawn up and submitted in accordance with the terms laid down by the Civil Service performance verification group, CSPVG. These arrangements are in line with those for all other Departments. The action plan was accepted by the CSPVG. The first progress report was required by 24 October 2003 and was duly submitted with additional material as requested.

The CSPVG has assessed the progress achieved on the commitments made by my Department and agreed by the partnership committee. The assessment was made having regard to the progress report submitted, additional material requested by the CSPVG and the report made by the Secretary General on public service management and development in the Department of Finance on progress achieved across the Civil Service as a whole. Copies of all this material will shortly be made available on the website of the Department of Finance in conjunction with the progress reports of all other Departments. On the basis of this assessment, the CSPVG has decided that the progress achieved warrants payment of the pay increases due from 1 January 2004 for all grades of staff in my Department.

Under Sustaining Progress, the assessment of verified progress for the health sector is the responsibility of the Secretary General of my Department. Following consideration of the findings of the health service performance verification group, the Secretary General has decided that payment of the increases to all staff in the health service covered by the public service benchmarking body's pay recommendations, with effect from 1 January 2004, is warranted.

This decision was based on strong evidence of willingness within the health sector to co-operate with modernisation and change under each of the headings set out in Sustaining Progress.