Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (176)

Niall Collins

Question:

176. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide in a tabular form the total list of quasi-Governmental organisations and agencies under his remit; if he will provide a list of quasi-Governmental organisations and agencies under his remit that have been abolished since March 2011 or are scheduled to be abolished and the date on which they are due to be abolished; the date on which the body was created; the name of the body; the 2012 Budget for the body; the number of employees of the body in 2012; the names of any outside consultants hired by the organisation since March 2011 and what future plans he has for the body. [49315/12]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

My Department currently has 12 State agencies supporting us in our work. These are:

1. Enterprise Ireland

2. IDA Ireland

3. Science Foundation Ireland

4. Shannon Development

5. County & City Enterprise Boards (35)

6. National Standards Authority of Ireland

7. Forfás

8. National Consumer Agency

9. The Competition Authority

10. Irish Auditing and Accounting Standards Authority

11. Personal Injuries Assessment Board, and

12. The Health & Safety Authority

There is a substantial programme of reform underway within my Department. The bodies under the remit of my Department that are scheduled to be rationalised merged or abolished are set out under the Government’s Agency Rationalisation Programme. In summary, plans are at an advanced stage to:

- Merge the National Consumer Agency and Competition Authority into one single entity;

- Dissolve the 35 CEB’s and restructure small business supports through collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities;

- Merge five workplace relations bodies into two;

- Transfer relevant enterprise functions from Shannon Development to IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Fáilte and merge Shannon Development with Shannon Airport;

- Integrate Forfás into the Department.

Name of Body

Date Created

Date to be Abolished/Rationalised/

Amalgamated

2012 Budget Allocation

No. of Employees in 2012

Current Status

County and City Enterprise Board (35)

Oct 1993

Allowing for progress through the Oireachtas, the plan is to have the Bill enacted before summer recess 2013.

€26.386m

124.3 (WTE)

The Government has approved the restructuring of the enterprise support model for the micro and small business sectors. This restructuring will include the dissolution of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs), the transfer of their functions, assets and liabilities to Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the development of a new Small and Micro Business Division within Enterprise Ireland (EI) as a centre of excellence in the provision of supports to the small and micro enterprise sectors, and the establishment of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to provide a “one-stop-shop” for small businesses within Local Authorities.

Competition Authority

Competition Authority was established in October 1991.

The plan is for the Bill to be published by mid-January 2013: enactment will depend on progress through the Oireachtas.

€4.654m

42.1

The legislation to give effect to the merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency is currently on the A list of the Government's legislative programme. It is hoped that the legislation will be published by mid-January  2013.

National Consumer Agency

National Consumer Agency was established in May 2007.

The plan is for the Bill to be published by mid-January 2013: enactment will depend on progress through the Oireachtas.

A total of €5.716m was provided for in the Department's Vote in respect of the cost of carrying out its statutory functions, other than those relating to consumer education and information in the financial services area, in 2012. The Agency imposes a levy on regulated financial services entities to cover the cost of the consumer information and education functions that it assumed responsibility for from the Financial Regulator following the enactment of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010. The Agency expects to impose levies totalling €2.125m in respect of the exercise of the aforementioned functions in 2012.

There are currently 59 staff (56.4 WTE) assigned to the Agency. Nineteen of these staff (18 WTE) are responsible for carrying out the consumer education and information functions in the financial services area and are paid for from the levy collected by the Agency from regulated financial service entities.

The legislation to give effect to the merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency is currently on the A list of the Government's legislative programme. It is hoped that the legislation will be published in mid-January  2013.

Labour Court

1946

 (see below)

€3.005m (including €0.6m pensions)

27

(WTE)

I have commenced the process to establish a new two-tier Workplace Relations structure and considerable progress has been made to date (see below)

National Employment Rights Authority

Labour Relations Commission

Employment Appeals Tribunal

Equality Tribunal

2007

1991

1967

N/A

I currently do not have responsibility for the Equality Tribunal (Min. for Justice has responsibility for ET)

A significant amount of work has been completed on the legislative programme and the General Scheme of Bill was approved by Government for priority drafting on 24 July, 2012. I expect publication before the end of quarter one of next year. This would enable the dissolution of these four bodies and the establishment of the Workplace Relations Bodies by early 2013.

€6.351m

€5.089m

€3.658m

N/A

103.03

(WTE)

47

(WTE)

38.2

(WTE)

N/A

I have commenced the process to establish a new two-tier Workplace Relations structure.  From next year two statutorily independent bodies will replace the current five. There will be a new single body of first instance to be called the Workplace Relations Commission and a separate appeals body, which will effectively be an expanded Labour Court.

Significant progress has been made to date and I am happy to report that in the last year; two public consultation processes were completed; two policy documents were published; a new single contact portal has replaced the five separate entry points; there are now no backlogs for Rights Commissioner hearings; a Single Complaint Form has replaced the 30 forms previously in use; a new workplace relations interim website is in place; a pilot Early Resolution Service is now seeking to resolve disputes at an early stage without the need for adjudication. Pending the enactment of the legislation, I intend to continue to progress the reform and bring about further enhancements for users of the services on an administrative basis in the coming months.

Forfás

1 Jan. 1994

Forfás is being integrated into my Department.

It is expected that this process will be completed by end 2013

€52.672m

(of which 77% or €40.6m relates to pensions of former agency staff)

88.5 (WTE)

Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN)

EGFSN Members are appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills in consultation with the Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation.)

1997

EGFSN will continue to operate as heretofore with secretariat support provided by integrated DJEI / Forfás staff and its work to be subject to funding agreement with DES

The work of the EGFSN is funded by DES under the National Training Fund

Forfás provide research support and secretariat services to the EGFSN

A Service Level Agreement will be drawn up between DES and DJEI to agree a schedule of work to meet DES requirements.

National Competitiveness Council (NCC)

1997

The NCC will continue to operate as an independent advisory body.  However, the Secretariat, currently provided by Forfás, is to be absorbed into DJEI as part of the integration of Forfás.

There is no direct funding allocated to NCC

Forfás provide research support and secretariat services.

The NCC is to be maintained, with a refreshed mandate and some changes in membership

Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the Government

June 2004

October 2012

The 2012 budget allocation for the Office of the CSA was €95k (this reflects 8/12 of the annual allocation as the CSA contract ceased in August 2012). In addition, two research staff, at a pay cost of €135K were available, on loan from Forfás, to support the Office.

3 (1 CSA and 2 support staff seconded from Forfás)

The Office of the CSA was included in the bodies due for critical review under the Public Sector Reform initiative. Following a Government decision on 11/10/12 to abolish the separate Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), the Director General of Science Foundation Ireland has taken on the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government in addition to his existing role. 

Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ACSTI)

2005

The role of the ACSTI is being reviewed in the context of the amalgamation of Forfás into the Department and appropriate arrangements for supporting the Research Prioritisation Exercise.

ACSTI operates as a sub-board of Forfas, all costs are met from the Forfas allocation. 

-

The role of the ACSTI is being reviewed in the context of the amalgamation of Forfás into the Department and appropriate arrangements for supporting the Research Prioritisation Exercise.

Shannon Development

1959

Heads of a Bill to establish the new entity on a statutory basis will be submitted to Government in early 2013 with the aim of having the Bill enacted by Summer 2013

€5m in Grants and €4.2m in Pension Provision

106  WTE (109 staff)

On 8th May 2012, the Government decided in principle to separate Shannon Airport (SA) from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and bring it together with Shannon Development to form a new entity with a commercial mandate in public ownership.  The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation established a Steering Group to bring forward proposals for the implementation of that decision.  Two Task Forces have also been established; the Aviation Business Development Task Force and the Change Management Task Force.

The Steering Group will be reporting back to Government with proposals to implement the Government decision before the end of this month.

Companies Registration Office and the Office of the Registrar of Friendly Societies

1963 (CRO) and pre-State (RFS).

€7.368m

111

These offices are ‘de facto’ merged, operating under a common budget and with the same individual designated as Registrar of Companies and Registrar of Friendly Societies.  There are no plans to pursue a legislative amendment at this point in time.

With regard to the hiring of outside consultants by Agencies, this is a day-to-day matter for the individual Agencies concerned for which I have no responsibility. I have referred this aspect of the question to the Agencies for direct reply to the Deputy.