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State Bodies Abolition

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 February 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Questions (364)

Brendan Griffin


364. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of quangos that have bee abolished since 9 March 2011; the savings that have been achieved as a result; the number of quangos that still exist; the annual cost of same; if there are any more planned to be axed during the duration of the 31st Dáil; if so, the savings that will be achieved through this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5499/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The streamlining of State Bodies is a key deliverable of the Public Service Reform Plan. The Plan included 48 rationalisation measures to be implemented by the end of 2012, as well as a further 46 critical reviews to take place by the end of June 2012, details of which are set out in Appendices IIa and IIb of the Plan which can be found on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s website.

With regard to the 48 agency rationalisation measures outlined in Appendix IIa of the Public Service Reform Plan, significant progress has been made by the responsible parent Departments on the implementation of these measures. The latest position on these measures to reflect progress to end Q4 2012 is included in the table in Appendix 1. Further detail or queries on this progress should be sought from the relevant Minister.

As the Deputy will see from the table, the Commission on Public Service Appointments merger with the Ombudsman’s Office, both of which are under the aegis of my Department, was completed and is legislated for in the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012.

Other rationalisation measures may also have occurred outside or prior to the Public Service Reform Plan, these rationalisation measures are a matter for the individual Departments and should be directed to the relevant Ministers.

With regard to further rationalisation measures to be introduced, I refer the Deputy to my answer to PQ 2813/13 answered on Wednesday 23rd January, 2013, which outlines the results of the critical review process and further rationalisation measures to be implemented by end 2013.

Regarding savings, from the outset, I have maintained that the real benefit from the rationalisation of State Bodies will be a less crowded administrative landscape resulting in greater democratic accountability, less duplication of effort and clearer lines of responsibility for the citizen. This will be of real and lasting benefit to all citizens, regardless of any headline figure on savings.

Specifically, the Public Service Reform Plan aimed to secure €20 million in enhanced service efficiencies and value-for-money from the rationalisation programme. The bulk of the savings are derived from a reduction in the number of public servants working in the State Bodies affected. This rationalisation programme is just one of the reform measures announced in the PSR plan and the Programme for Government which facilitates the Government in ensuring delivery of critical services while still being able to reduce public service numbers.

There will of course be other cash savings realised over time as organisations, financial systems, office accommodation etc. are rationalised into leaner, more coherent structures. These savings, some of which will be once-off, will be factored into the overall budgetary framework as they arise.

With regard to the Deputy’s question regarding the number of State Bodies that still exist, as I have stated before in previous PQs, there are three broad categories of State Bodies.

Firstly, there are a number of Offices of State which typically are staffed by Civil Servants and have their own Vote for the allocation of public monies and which are within a Vote Group. A list of these bodies is set out in Appendix 2.

Secondly there are non-commercial State Bodies who are usually staffed by Public Servants and funded (or part funded) through a grant-in-aid from their parent Department. Details of such bodies are set out in the Detailed Expenditure Information on Non-Commercial State Agencies included in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2012, which can be found on my Department’s website at:

Beyond that within each Department there are many other executive offices, divisions and directorates, operational or consultative groupings, task groups or forums that exist for various purposes that might or might not meet the definition of ‘entity’. Many of these groups are transient in nature in response to the needs and business pressures of particular Departments and sectors and details of which would not be held centrally. Questions on such bodies should be directed to the relevant Ministers. The internal organisation of my own Department is set out at Appendix 3.

Appendix 1 - 47 Measures to be implemented by end 2012 (Progress to end Q4 2012)

Bold text reflects those measures implemented fully


Ref No. * See Appendix IIa of the Public Service Reform Plan

Body and Action


Education and Skills

1 to 3

Amalgamation of Further Education and Training Awards, Higher Education and Training Award Council and National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

Amalgamation completed - Quality and Qualifications Ireland was established on 6 November 2012 under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012.


Reduce Number of VEC’s from 33 to 16

The Bill completed the Committee Stage on 17 January 2013 and the Minister expects the Bill to be enacted before end March 2013

5 & 6

Merge Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Council for the Humanities and Social Science into consolidated single council under HEA.

Merger completed March 2012

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

7 & 8

Amalgamate the Competition Authority and

National Consumer Agency

The Bill is now included in the A List of the Government's Legislative Programme. Plans for the amalgamation are progressing in advance of the publication of the legislation.


Rationalise the industrial relations / employee rights institutions

The General Scheme of the Workplace Relations Bill has been approved by Government for priority drafting. The Cabinet approved the inclusion of the Workplace Relations Bill in the A list of the Spring Legislative Programme. The Minister is committed to enactment of the legislation at an early date, with a view to having the proposed new structures in place in 2013. Significant progress has been achieved to date on an administrative basis in terms of building the new two tier-model.


Establish the scope to merge Forfás into the Department

An Implementation Group, comprising senior management from the Department, Forfás and D/PER is overseeing the integration project.


Review of City and County Enterprise Boards

The Bill to dissolve the existing CEB structure and transfer their functions to Enterprise Ireland is included in the A List of the Spring Legislative Programme.

Environment, Community and Local Government

16 & 17

Merge Local Government Computer Services Board & Local Government Management Services Board

Completed. Local Government Management Agency established in August 2012.

18 & 19

Merge Regeneration Agencies in Limerick into Local Authorities (and extend remit of regeneration to certain city centre areas)

Completed in July 2012.


Subsume An Comhairle Leabharlanna into existing public body

Completed. Provided for in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.


Comhar to be integrated into the National Economic and Social Council.

Completed January 2012.


Interim Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency incorporating the Affordable Housing Partnership, National Building Agency and Centre for Housing Research

Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency established in August 2012.


Discontinue the Dormant Accounts Board

DAB dissolved in December 2012.

Public Expenditure and Reform


Merge Commission on Public Service Appointments with Ombudsman




Merger of National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery.



Merge Opticians Boards with the Health and Social Care Professionals Council

Working Group advancing proposal. It is envisaged that the drafting of the Bill to subsume the Opticians Board will commence this year and finalised in 2014.


Merge National Cancer Registry into HSE is not proceeding as decided by Government on 31 October 2012

Justice and Equality

28 & 29

Merge Equality Authority with the Human Rights Commission to form new Commission

The Bill has been approved by Government for priority drafting in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.  Aim is to have a draft Bill in February 2013. The measure is currently being progressed on an administrative basis prior to enactment of the necessary legislation.

Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

30, 31 & 32

Combine Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery & National Gallery of Ireland.

Framework for Co-operation & Improved Services agreed and endorsed by Government.

33 & 34

Merge National Archives & Irish Manuscripts Commission, into National Library

In order to achieve the greatest possible savings and efficiencies, it was decided that these rationalisation measures would be best implemented by deploying the existing National Archives (NAI) governance model to the National Library (NLI) and the National Museum (NMI). Draft Heads of Bill to amend current legislation have been drafted in consultation with the Institutions.


Merge functions of An Coimisinéir Teanga with Ombudsman Office.

Proposals to amend the Act will be brought to the Cabinet Committee on the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht in Q1 of 2013.

36 & 37

Examine the issue of shared services and Board structure of both the National Library and Museum

The NLI and NMI and the Department are working on an SLA to implement shared services on an administrative basis. Roll out of a HR shared service is well underway and it is envisaged that an SLA will be in place by end Q 1 2013.

Transport, Tourism and Sport


Merge NRA with Railway Procurement Agency

General Scheme of Bill will be submitted to Government in Q1 2013

39 & 40

Merge Irish Aviation Authority & Commission for Aviation Regulation

It has been agreed that a restructuring of two agencies as opposed to a merger should take place.  This restructuring will take place by end 2014. 

41 & 42

Legislation to be published in 2012 to enable the merger of National Sports Campus Development Authority with the Irish Sports Council in 2013.

Draft General Scheme of Bill to be submitted to Government in Q1 2013


Review Role of Shannon Development (Tourism) and possible merger into Fáilte Ireland

The tourism functions of Shannon Development, together with the associated staff, will transfer to Fáilte Ireland during the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2013


Dublin Regional Tourism Authority and possible merger into Fáilte Ireland

Completed January 2012.



Merge Civil Defence Board into Department

Completed January 2013.



Merge the Digital Hub Development Authority with Enterprise Ireland / IDA

A review on proposed merger found that Dublin City Council would be a better merger partner for DHDA.  The merger was implemented on an administrative basis with necessary legislation to be progressed in 2013.

Children and Youth Affairs


Merge back-office functions of Ombudsman for Children with Information Commissioner

A number of shared service opportunities are already realised. Discussions are ongoing between Ombudsman for Children’s Office and Ombudsman/Information Commissioner in relation to identifying further opportunities for back office functions to merge.


Child and Family Support Agency  / Family Mediation Service transfer to Legal Aid Board

The Government has approved the Heads of the Child and Family Support Agency Bill and has also agreed to the priority drafting of this Bill. The necessary legislative and organisational preparations are being prioritised so that the Agency can be established as a priority.

Appendix 2


Offices of State etc. with their own Vote




President's Establishment


Office of the Attorney General


Central Statistics Office


Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions


Chief State Solicitor's Office


Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General


Office of the Appeal Commissioners


State Laboratory


Valuation Office


Public Appointments Service


Office of the Ombudsman


Property Registration Authority

Note: The above table does not include the Revenue Commissioners, the Office of Public Works, the Courts or the Prisons Services all of which are generally understood to be part of the Civil Service, the Garda or HSE Votes each of which are specific sectors, or the National Gallery which is a cultural institution with its own Vote.

Appendix 3

Internal Organisation of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Office of the Chief Medical Officer

Remuneration and Industrial Relations

Human Resources/Corporate Support Units

Public Service and Reform Delivery (including Shared Services Transformation Unit)

Expenditure policy Evaluation and Management

Labour Market and Enterprise Policy

Health, Pensions Policy and EU/NI

Government Reform unit

Centre for Management and Organisational Development (CMOD) and eGovernment

Civil Service Human Resources

Note all of the above report to the Secretary General of the Department.

Other bodies under my Department include Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC), Outside Appointments Board, Public Service Agreement Implementation Body, Civil Service Arbitration Board, the Valuation Tribunal, Special EU Programmes Body. Separately, both the Institute of Public Administration and the Economic and Social Research Institute receive Grant-in-aid from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.