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Departmental Reports.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 11 December 2007

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Questions (640, 641, 642, 643, 644, 645, 646, 647, 648, 649, 650, 651)

Brian Hayes

Question:

682 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on the supply panel for primary teaching was completed; the value of the savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33456/07]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The review and evaluation of the Supply Teacher Scheme for Primary Schools concluded in June, 2003 that the scheme is generally contributing positively to primary education in the areas in which it operates, although levels of success vary.

The scheme was found to be relatively expensive in terms of cost per day of substitution, although this finding has to be balanced with other educational and policy issues. In balancing these economic and policy issues, the Review concluded that effective provision of quality substitution in the future is likely to require a mixed market approach — i.e. the Supply Teacher Scheme, agency supply and casual substitution.

The Review recommended to continue the Scheme in the short term, with some recommended improvements in processes and management. In addition, it also recommended an investigation of the potential for agency supply and a further review of the scheme in 3-5 years time. The report is currently being considered by the education partners.

Brian Hayes

Question:

683 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on youth encounter projects was completed; the value of the savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33457/07]

View answer

The report on the value for money review of Youth Encounter Project schools is due for finalisation in the near future and will then be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas, in line with standard procedure. The impact of implementing the recommendations contained in the report, including possible savings, will be the subject of periodic review.

I should point out to the Deputy that, while the achievement of savings is an element of the review, in general the review focused on the efficiency and effectiveness with which the YEP schools are using the resources allocated to them by my Department to achieve their stated objectives.

Brian Hayes

Question:

684 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on first and second level building programmes, topic 2 devolved initiatives, was completed; the value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33458/07]

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Brian Hayes

Question:

692 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review of grants to first and second level schools will be completed; the anticipated value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33466/07]

View answer

Brian Hayes

Question:

693 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review of the summer works scheme primary and post-primary buildings will be completed; the anticipated value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33467/07]

View answer

I propose to take Questions Nos. 684, 692, and 693 together.

The Government's Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative is part of a framework introduced to secure improved value for money from public expenditure. The objectives of the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative are to analyse Exchequer spending in a systematic manner and to provide a basis on which more informed decisions can be made on priorities within and between programmes. It is one of a range of modernisation initiatives aimed at moving public sector management away from the traditional focus on inputs to concentrate on the achievement of results.

Value for Money Reviews are undertaken under the aegis of steering committees which are representative of the Departments/Offices managing the programmes/areas being reviewed. For the more significant reviews the Department of Finance is generally represented on the steering committees.

In early 2000 my Department's Planning and Building Unit revised the manner in which the School Capital Programme was delivered and concluded that it was necessary to introduce a mechanism that would increase the deliverable infrastructures in a speedy, cost effective and qualitative manner to ensure improved educational facilities nationally. The Small Schools Initiative and the Permanent Accommodation Initiative were introduced on a pilot basis in the School Capital Programme 2003. Both of the initiatives were the subject of an expenditure review based on the 2003 programme. The review concluded that the initiatives' objectives were satisfactorily achieved. These included:

the schools involved have better school facilities and/or additional school accommodation,

the introduction of these initiatives ensured that the Department was in a position to address the higher priority banded projects through the traditional method of architectural design in the knowledge that 40 additional schools were progressing to construction within a timeframe of 12 months with no hands-on requirement from my officials, a higher output was achieved, as none of the schools in the SSI would have progressed to construction in 2003 if the initiatives were not put in place,

a higher level of quality was obtained (permanent build) in relation to the projects progressed through the introduction of the PAI, as the previous method of progressing these applications was to provide temporary prefabricated accommodation,

the majority of the building projects proceeded to site and construction within the 12 months timeframe as dictated in the guidelines of each initiative,

the majority of the building works completed were of good quality and deemed to provide VFM,

School Management Authorities (SMAs), on average, were happy with their own abilities to progress their own building projects. 81% of SMAs would recommend acceptance of the devolved initiatives again 100% were satisfied with the educational impact achieved, 97% were satisfied with the programme of delivery and 93% satisfied with the autonomy Role of SMA,

Compliance with public procurement was achieved in relation to the tendering process for building Contractors.

The devolved Summer Works Scheme was introduced in 2004. The value for money review of the primary and post-primary summer works scheme is not due to be officially completed until late 2008 and consequently any outcomes will not be known for some considerable time.

Brian Hayes

Question:

685 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on schools information communication technology programmes was completed; the value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33459/07]

View answer

The Value for Money Review of the ICT Support Services for Schools is currently being finalised.

Brian Hayes

Question:

686 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on information communication technology undergraduate skills programmes was completed; the value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33460/07]

View answer

The Report to which the Deputy refers to is currently being finalised.

Brian Hayes

Question:

687 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on teacher education and development programme was completed; the value of the savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33461/07]

View answer

The report to which the Deputy refers to is currently being finalised.

Brian Hayes

Question:

688 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on the Youthreach and Traveller education was completed; the value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33462/07]

View answer

The value for money review of the Youthreach and Senior Traveller Training Centre programmes is not yet finalised.

Brian Hayes

Question:

689 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review on insurance arrangements for schools was completed; the value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33463/07]

View answer

The Value for Money Policy review on Insurance Arrangements in primary and post-primary schools is currently under way.

Brian Hayes

Question:

690 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review of expenditure on the education of persons who do not have English or Irish as a first language will be completed; the anticipated value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of the conclusions from this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33464/07]

View answer

The value for money review of expenditure on the education of persons who do not have English or Irish as a first language has not commenced. It is intended to undertake this review in 2008.

Brian Hayes

Question:

691 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when the value for money review of special needs assistants will be completed; the anticipated value of savings to the Exchequer due to the implementation of this report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33465/07]

View answer

The Value for Money and Policy Review referred to by the Deputy is due to be completed by end of 2008. The Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative is part of a framework introduced to secure improved value for money from public expenditure. The objectives of the Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative are to analyse Exchequer spending in a systematic manner and to provide a basis on which more informed decisions can be made on priorities within and between programmes. It is one of a range of modernisation initiatives aimed at moving public sector management away from the traditional focus on inputs to concentrate on the achievement of results. It would be premature of me at this point to anticipate the conclusions that will emerge from the review.

Questions Nos. 692 and 693 answered with Question No. 684.
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