External delivery of public services is a key element of the overall Public Service Reform Plan agreed by Government in November 2011. As such, last July, the Government agreed a range of actions aimed at achieving a focussed and integrated approach to external service delivery of non-core processes with the objective of reducing costs and focussing staff on priority areas.
The Government has decided that all proposed new services across the Public Service will be first tested for external service delivery before any approval to provide the service internally will be granted. In this regard, each of the four main sectors; health, education, justice and local government have been asked to prepare detailed benefits-driven external service delivery plans. Plans from the Justice and Local Government sectors have now been received by the Reform and Delivery Office in my Department who are coordinating implementation of the Public Service Reform Plan and I understand that the Health Sector plan is nearing completion. The Reform and Delivery Office is working closely with the Education sector with a view to finalising their plan.
The Reform and Delivery Office has also been engaging with Departments, Offices and Sectors to identify existing services that may be suitable for delivery by external providers with a view to selecting a number of major projects for evaluation. All of this is in line with the Public Service (Croke Park) Agreement which sets out a clear process for engagement and consultation with Public Service employees and their representatives.