Education Grants

Questions (96)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

96. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if persons who have applied for the education grant from the old Education Finance Board back in September 2012 need to reapply to the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund or if their application is still ongoing. [21048/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The remit of the recently established Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) Board is different to that of the former Education Finance Board. The RISF will oversee the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million, pledged by the religious congregations, to support the needs of survivors of institutional child abuse, across a range of services, including mental health services, health and personal social services, education and housing services.

The position in relation to the Education Finance Board is that it was dissolved with effect from 29th March. The funding available to the Board has been fully allocated and its remaining functions have been taken over by the RISF Board. The former Education Finance Board indicated in November 2011 that it expected that the funds available to it would be fully allocated on applications already received and accordingly it publicised that it would not be in a position to process any applications received after 30th November, 2011.

In accordance with the relevant legislation, the RISF Board will determine the criteria by reference to which it will make decisions in respect of applications to it. Those who are eligible to receive support from the Fund are the some 15,000 former residents who have received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or equivalent Court awards.

The Board held its inaugural meeting on 27th March and has commenced work on the arrangements to be put in place for the operation of the Fund. Further publicity will be undertaken as the work of the Board progresses and a website with detailed information on the Fund's services will be developed. This information will advise potential applicants on how to apply for assistance from the Fund.

Education Grants

Questions (97)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

97. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an application for an education grant is being assessed by the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21049/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The recently established Residential Institutions Statutory Fund (RISF) Board is an independent statutory body which will oversee the use of the cash contributions of up to €110 million, pledged by the religious congregations, to support the needs of survivors of institutional child abuse, across a range of services, including mental health services, health and personal social services, education and housing services. Following the dissolution of the Education Finance Board, whose funds had been fully allocated, its remaining functions have been taken over by the RISF Board.

I have arranged to have the Deputy's query regarding a specific individual forwarded to the RISF Board requesting that it respond directly to him in relation thereto.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (98)

Willie Penrose

Question:

98. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the eligibility to a higher education grant, when a person has applied for and been awarded a grant to pursue a degree course but was unable to complete first year and in October 2013 wishes to change to an alternative course; if they will be considered eligible for a grant in October 2013; if he will outline the eligibility criteria regrading same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21051/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

If the student is commencing a new course of study in the academic year 2013/14 it will be necessary for him/her to establish their eligibility by submitting a fully completed online grant application to Student Universal Support Ireland via www.studentfinance.ie when the application process for the 2013/14 academic year opens.

The Student Grant Scheme provides awarding authorities with discretion to waive the provisions regarding progression in exceptional circumstances and consider funding for a repeat period of study.

The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application in relation to exceptional circumstances for a repeat period of study, it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student would qualify for a grant.

Public Sector Pensions Expenditure

Questions (99)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

99. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide in tabular form information on lump sum payments (details supplied) paid to retiring public sector workers between March 2011 and March 2013. [21588/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available within my Department and is being sought from the bodies/agencies under the aegis of my Department. When compiled it will be forwarded to the Deputy.

Arts Promotion

Questions (100, 101)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

100. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans in relation to the development of an arts centre (details supplied); the progress or actions that have taken place thus far; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20956/13]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

101. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans in relation to the development of an Arts centre (details supplied); the progress or actions that have taken place thus far; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20958/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 101 together.

In order to facilitate the EU Presidency meetings at Dublin Castle, a number of organisations who had accommodation under license were requested to vacate their offices in Dublin Castle. OPW Property Management sourced alternative temporary accommodation for Irish Arts Review, Music Network and Ouroboros in the vacant Garda Station at Harcourt Terrace. Drumcondra Work Space has also been accommodated in this property.

OPW is currently developing a longer-term plan for the property and there are no plans to develop an Arts Centre at this venue.

Public Procurement Regulations

Questions (102)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

102. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the changes he is intending to make to the public procurement process; if he is engaging with employers’ and workers’ representatives regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20900/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Reform of public procurement is one of the major projects of key strategic importance in the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan, which was published in November 2011. Procurement of supplies and services accounts for around €9 billion of current spending by the State per annum. This represents a very significant portion of overall spending and it is, therefore, essential that the Public Service achieves maximum value for money and operational efficiency in its approach to public procurement.

Progress has been made on several of the actions for procurement reform contained in the Public Service Reform Plan. The Government agreed on 12 June, 2012 to implement mandatory arrangements in respect of the centralised purchasing frameworks organised by the National Procurement Service (NPS).

Following that, an external review of the central procurement function was commissioned by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The report of the review, which was published in September, found that significant savings can be achieved through the implementation of a transformational change to the central procurement model.

In December 2012, arising out of recommendations in the report of the review of the central procurement function the Minister announced the appointment of a Chief Procurement Officer to lead a key element of the Government’s Public Service Reform agenda. The new approach to public procurement will involve:

- integrating procurement policy, strategy and sourcing in one office;

- strengthening spend analytics and data management;

- much greater aggregation of purchasing across public bodies to achieve better value for money;

- examining the specifications set out for goods and services;

- evaluating demand levels to assess how demand and volume can be reduced; and

- strengthening supplier and category management.

Since the appointment of Paul Quinn, CPO, on 28 January 2013, he has initiated and completed a series of engagements (workshops and one-to-one meetings) with key stakeholders within the public sector and their representatives in relation to the development of the proposed governance structures, implementation plan, transition arrangements and savings targets for the procurement function. The following sectors were engaged in workshops / meetings: Health, Education, Local Government, Defence, Justice, and other Central Government Departments.

Further consultation will be undertaken with employees and workers’ representatives as the new Office for Government Procurement is established. We are committed to ensuring that SMEs are fully engaged in the process and will be encouraged, where necessary, to form alliances and networks to ensure they can tender on a competitive basis for this work.

Public Sector Pensions Expenditure

Question No. 104 withdrawn.

Questions (103)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

103. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide in tabular form information on lump sum payments (details supplied) paid to retiring public sector workers between March 2011 and March 2013. [21010/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Responsibility for the actual administration of public service schemes is spread over a number of Departments and agencies. For example, the HSE deals with health sector pensions, the Department of Defence manages pensions for members of the Defence Forces, and the Department of Education and Science handles those of primary and secondary school teachers.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform administers the Civil Service pension scheme, with payment of benefits charged to Vote 12 Superannuation and Retired Allowances.

The Civil Service operates a system of Delegation and Non-Delegation. The delegated Departments and offices calculate the pension due to the retiring employee and pay lump sums to their staff.

In the case of non-delegated Departments/Offices, pensions and lump sums are calculated by my Department. These non-delegated Departments/Offices are:

Office of the Attorney General

Central Statistics Office

Chief State Solicitor’s Office

Commission for Public Service Appointments

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Court’s Service

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Department of Finance

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Department of Health

Department of Justice & Equality (for established civil servants)

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Department of the Taoiseach

Legal Aid Board

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

National Council for Special Education

Houses of the Oireachtas

Office of the Ombudsman

President’s Establishment

Property Registry Authority

Public Appointment’s Service

Residential Institutions Redress Board

State Examination Commission

State Laboratory

Valuation Office

Based on information provided by the Office of the Paymaster General, the data provided below provides the number of lump sum payments in the requested bands paid from the Vote for Superannuation and Retired Allowances to Civil Servants who retired from non-delegated Departments/Offices for the period 3rd March 2011 – 28th March 2013. It is also important to note that these are Gross Lump Sum Payments and may be subject to certain deductions.

Lump Sum

Number of Payments

10,000 - 20,000

98

20,001 - 30,000

61

30,001 - 40,000

44

40,001 - 50,000

49

50,001 - 60,000

58

60,001 - 70,000

43

70,001 - 80,000

57

80,001 - 90,000

68

90,001 - 100,000

106

100,001 - 150,000

161

150,001 - 200,000

44

200,001 - 250,000

16

250,001+

9

Total

814

The Office of Public Works is a delegated Office which comes under my aegis and the information requested is set out in the table below.

Established Staff

State Industrial Employees

Total

-

1 March, 2011 to 31st March, 2013

1 March, 2011 to 31st March, 2013

-

Under 10,000

2

11

13

10,000 - 20,000

3

10

13

20,001 – 30,000

3

7

10

30,001 – 40,000

6

11

17

40,001 – 50,000

3

21

24

50,001 – 60,000

2

15

17

60,001 – 70,000

4

6

10

70,001 – 80,000

8

5

13

80,001 – 90,000

12

1

13

90001 – 100,000

4

0

4

100,001 - 150,000

16

1

17

150,001 - 200,000

8

0

8

200,001 – 250,000

1

0

1

Over 250,000

0

0

0

-

72

88

160

Information regards the payment of lump sums by (i) Delegated Departments/|Offices within the Civil Service and (ii) the wider public service should be sought from the relevant Departments.

Question No. 104 withdrawn.