Departmental Staff Retirements

Questions (92)

Seán Fleming

Question:

92. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reduction in public expenditure numbers that will be achieved in 2013 and 2014 from targeted redundancy and early retirement in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43033/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Government announced a targeted voluntary redundancy package earlier this year which is initially to be rolled out in three areas including specific parts of the Education Sector. Officials of my Department are currently liaising with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with a view to finalising arrangements for the roll out of a targeted scheme for the Sector.

Although there is no voluntary redundancy scheme currently on offer to employees of the Department of Education and skills 5 staff have availed of the early retirement option in 2013, with no further applications expected this year. To date, only 1 application for early retirement has been made by a staff member of my Department in respect of 2014. However, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular 08/2013 which allows for officers retiring before 31st August, 2014, to have their superannuation benefits calculated by reference to the pay scales applying on 30th June, 2013, may lead to an increase in applications before the end of August 2014.

Public Procurement Contracts Tenders

Questions (93)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

93. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the actions he is taking to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium enterprises to apply for Government tenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42689/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I am aware that public procurement can be an important source of business for Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Current guidelines (Circular 10/10) issued by my Department require public bodies to promote participation of SMEs in the award of public contracts. The guidance also highlights practices that are to be avoided because they can unjustifiably hinder small businesses in competing for public contracts. The key provisions of the guidance include:

- supplies and general services contracts with an estimated value of €25,000 or more to be advertised on the www.etenders.gov.ie website;

- less use of “restrictive” tendering procedures and greater use of “open” tendering;

- ensuring that the levels set by contracting authorities for suitability criteria are justified and proportionate to the needs of the contract; and

- sub-dividing larger requirements into lots where this is practical and can be done without compromising efficiency and value for money.

My Department is keen to streamline procurement processes – consistent with its value for money, legal, transparency and probity objectives. In order to reduce the costs involved in participating or conducting the procurement process, the National Procurement Service as part of the new Office of Government Procurement is promoting standardisation and simplification of the public procurement function. It has published a suite of model tendering and contract documents which will help both businesses and buyers to reduce administrative costs.

In addition my Department has developed contracts for Public Works and Construction-Related Services that give greater cost certainty at tender stage, for capital projects. The construction reform initiative has yielded substantial savings in capital procurement.

In order to encourage greater SME participation the National Procurement Service, over the past three years, has conducted a targeted programme of education for suppliers who wish to learn more about doing business with the Irish Public Service. This programme consists of seminars, workshops and large scale 'meet the buyer' events hosted nationwide. To date the NPS has facilitated workshops and presented at seminars to over 4,500 SMEs nationwide. Parallel with these events the NPS also works closely with business representative bodies such as ISME and IBEC to provide briefings for their members.

Public Sector Staff Increment Payments

Questions (94)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

94. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the gross value of all increments to be paid to civil and public servants in 2014, and the percentage average increase-decrease in salaries in 2014 factoring in increments and the cuts imposed as part of the Haddington Road agreement. [42611/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The detailed information sought by the Deputy is not available to my Department. Impact on salaries would vary at the level of the individual having regard to the pay reductions for those on salaries above €65,000, the freezing or pausing of increments to those that may be eligible for an increment in 2014 and the amount of overtime or other non core salary earned. The reductions in the total pay bill of public servants arising from the Haddington Road Agreement and the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013 will be reflected in the public service pay estimates for 2014 which will be determined as part of Budget 2014.

Public Sector Reform Implementation

Questions (95, 97, 98, 99, 101, 102, 105)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

95. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in the context of the objectives set out by his Department in terms of the curtailment of public expenditure and reform when he took up office two and a half years ago, the extent to which he has succeeded in meeting those objectives with particular reference to the benefit and stabilisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42741/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

97. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he expects to be in a position to meet in full all the targets set and agreed by the troika for the current year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42743/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

98. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the net benefits to date to the Exchequer in terms of cost reductions achieved in line with the troika agreement in general; the extent to which these are in line with targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42744/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

99. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he expects to be in a position to achieve budgetary curtailments required in the coming year without impacting on staffing levels or quality of service throughout the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42745/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

101. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he and his Department has evaluated the likely benefits to the economy arising from achievements in expenditure strategy over the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42747/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

102. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which targets set for each Government Department in terms of public expenditure and reform have been met in full in each of the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42748/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

105. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he and his Department have identified cost overruns or the potential for such throughout various Government Departments; the extent to which it has been found possible to take corrective action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42751/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95, 97 to 99, inclusive, 101, 102 and 105 together.

Since this Government was established in 2011, a medium-term expenditure management process began with a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure exercise. This exercise was carried out by all Departments in order to identify ways of reducing expenditure in line with commitments under the Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland, while minimising the impact on service delivery.

Following on from this, the Ministerial expenditure ceilings for 2012 - 2014 were introduced on an administrative basis in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report, published in December 2011. The CRE exercise forms the foundation of these ceilings and is the basis for all subsequent decisions on expenditure. A new Comprehensive Review of Expenditure exercise will be carried out early next year.

The Expenditure Report 2013 was published on 5 December 2012 and included further well-specified expenditure savings measures across every area of Government spending. The Government policy on Budget 2014 measures is currently being finalised and the Budget announcement will be made on the 15th of October 2013.

The EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support is subject to policy conditionality which is set out in programme documents - the Memorandum of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality (MOU), the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) and the Technical Memorandum of Understanding. The conditionality in these documents is subject to continuing assessment by the Irish Authorities and the EU, IMF, ECB (the Troika) to ensure the broad programme objectives are met. Such assessment is undertaken at the quarterly reviews. Each update to the MoU can include the protraction or revisions to existing commitments along with new commitments.

The Irish Government's commitment to the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support remains firm as is clearly illustrated by our continued strong record in implementing the agreed policy frameworks and measures while meeting all quantitative targets. We are in the final year of the EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support and having successfully concluded the eleventh review mission of our EU-IMF Programme the data released in the Exchequer Statement on 2 October indicates that the Exchequer primary deficit target was met for the twelfth consecutive quarter. In line with each of the previous quarterly reviews, Ireland has met all quantitative fiscal targets and our continued strong programme implementation has been recognised by the Troika.

Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 30.

Questions Nos. 97 to 99, inclusive, answered with Question No. 95.