Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (212)

Niall Collins

Question:

212. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide in a tabular form the total list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under her remit; if she will provide a list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under her 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 she has for the body. [49318/12]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There are no quasi-governmental organisations under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection. The statutory bodies operating under the aegis of my Department are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board, the Pensions Board, and the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman. Details of these statutory bodies are set out in the following table.

Statutory Bodies

Social Welfare Tribunal

The Social Welfare Tribunal is a statutory body set up in 1982

to deal with cases where entitlement to Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance is refused due to an involvement in a trade dispute. Where a person feels unreasonably deprived of employment because an employer refused or failed to engage in the mediation process for settling disputes, application may be made to the Tribunal for adjudication on the matter.

The Citizens Information Board

The Citizens Information Board is the national agency responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice and advocacy on social services and for the provision of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

The Pensions Board

The Pensions Board is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Pensions Act 1990 (as amended), which provides for the regulation of occupational pensions and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts. The Board also advises the Minister in relation to pension policy.

The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman

The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman investigates complaints of financial losses due to maladministration and disputes of fact or law, in relation to occupational pension schemes and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts. The Pensions Ombudsman is a statutory officer and exercises his functions independently.

I understand that the information sought on budgets, employee numbers and so on is required only in respect of bodies abolished or proposed for abolition. No body under the aegis of my Department has been merged or abolished since the formation of the Government in March 2011.

The Public Service Reform Programme provides that the integration of the regulatory functions of the Pensions Board with the Financial Regulator and the merging of the Pensions Ombudsman with the Financial Services Ombudsman be the subject of a critical review. The review will include identifying any potential savings arising from such an amalgamation. The Critical Review Group held its first meeting in July 2012. I expect to receive a report from the Group by end 2012. Following receipt of this report, decisions in relation to possible reforms will be taken.