Public Expenditure Statistics

Questions Nos. 101 and 102 answered with Question No. 95.

Questions (100)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

100. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which the national pay bill has been stabilised or reduced since he took up office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42746/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I would refer the Deputy to the Analysis of Exchequer Pay and Pensions Bill 2007 – 2012, published by my Department. This publication presents a detailed breakdown of both gross and net pay and pension expenditure in aggregate terms, by sector and by individual Vote and is available on my Department’s website at www.per.gov.ie under the Reports tab.

In addition the Deputy will be aware, that Ireland is committed to reducing its general government deficit to less than 3% by 2015. If the public service pay and pensions bill at 36% of spending is to make a proportionate contribution to the necessary additional expenditure reduction currently identified as necessary for the next 3 years based on current economic forecasts, it requires a further reduction of some €1 billion in the cost of the pay and pensions bill with €300 million of that saving to be delivered in 2013. On this basis the Government through public service employers entered into discussions with public service unions to achieve agreement on the necessary reductions. They negotiated a difficult and complex set of proposals under the Haddington Road Agreement which will deliver the necessary €1bn saving in the public service pay and pensions bill by 2015 while ameliorating the impacts for public service staff on low and middle incomes to the greatest extent possible.

Questions Nos. 101 and 102 answered with Question No. 95.

Public Sector Staff Data

Questions (103)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

103. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which staffing levels throughout the public sector are in line with targets in terms of savings and expenditure but at the same time sufficient to retain and maintain quality of service throughout the sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42749/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Government has set ambitious targets for reducing numbers in the public service. Underpinned by the additional hours and new workplace flexibilities contained in Haddington Road and supported by reform initiatives such as shared services and outsourcing the Government expects a leaner, more effective public service into the future.

The transition to this improved state is challenging. Shedding staff numbers, maintaining service levels and rolling out service delivery reform is difficult; but it is necessary.

For the last full recorded year, 2012, the reduction in public service numbers was on target overall. So far, progress in 2013 is less than required but Ministers and their departments know what they are required to do.

My Department is supporting a range of reform options across the system to help sectoral managers achieve the type of organisational restructuring and changes to service delivery models required to protect the quality of the public service, especially on the frontline, as it reduces in size.

Exchequer Savings

Question No. 105 answered with Question No. 95.

Questions (104)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

104. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which his Department has succeeded in making savings through insurance cost reductions and public procurement in each of the past two years to date; the extent to which he expects to be in a position to achieve further savings in these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42750/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Departments and Offices should make every effort to contain and reduce all administrative costs including both insurance and procurement costs. This approach unpins the current programme of reform of public procurement is one of the major projects of key strategic importance in the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan. 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.

In this regard, 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 late last year, found that significant savings can be achieved through the implementation of a transformational change to the central procurement model. The report estimates that implementation of its recommendations, over a three-year period, could yield potential annual savings in the range of €249 million to €637 million on an addressable spend of €7 billion, depending on the approach taken.

In saving over the last two years the National Procurement Service as part of the newly formed Office of Government Procurement has reported procurement savings to the end of 2012 under its frameworks of €93.1m, comprising of €7.5m in 2010, €46.5m in 2011 and a further €39.1m for 2012, which include administrative savings. I would point out that further work is underway within the newly established Office of Government Procurement to develop a more accurate methodology to measure savings.

In relation to plans for further reform of public procurement, the review also 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 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.

These reforms will lead to reductions in the cost of goods and services; better procurement services at lower cost; introduction of technical standardisation; greater attention to contract management and better problem resolution; greater levels of professionalism among staff responsible for procurement; and better performance management of the central procurement function.

Question No. 105 answered with Question No. 95.