As part of the major decentralisation programme for the Civil Service announced on budget day, 3 December 2003, it is proposed that 1,300 posts in the headquarters of my Department and two of its agencies, Comhairle and the Combat Poverty Agency, which are currently based in Dublin, will move to various provincial locations.
My Department has established a formal project management structure to manage the decentralisation programme within the organisation.
My Department has previous experience of the issues associated with decentralisation, having relocated functions and staff out of Dublin to Sligo, Letterkenny, Longford, Waterford and Dundalk.
The new programme of decentralisation will involve major change for my Department and a key objective will be to ensure that it is implemented in a planned way and with due regard to the effects on staff and the maintenance of high standards of service delivery.
A detailed project plan covering all aspects of the decentralisation process for my Department and the two agencies involved is being prepared. The plan will set out the business areas to be located to each location; the timing of each relocation; staff placement and training plans; the estimated resources required to complete the project; the risks associated with the project; and the contingency plans to deal with those risks.
Plans for all of the Departments involved will be considered by the decentralisation implementation committee established by the Government which is due to submit an initial report by end March 2004 on the implementation of the overall programme.
My Department will report progress on the implementation of the plan on a regular basis to the implementation committee, which will report in turn to the special Cabinet sub-committee which is overseeing the programme as a whole.