School Transport Provision

Questions (115)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

115. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school route (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45519/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A new school transport service to the school referred to by the Deputy was sanctioned by my Department, in accordance with the terms of the Primary School Transport Scheme. Bus Éireann, which operates the Scheme, on behalf of my Department, has advised that the service commenced on 21st October 2013.

Student Grant Scheme Administration

Questions (116)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

116. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications processed by Student Universal Support Ireland for the 2013-14 academic year; if he will provide comparative figures for the 2012-13 academic year; if he will outline on a county basis the number of students who have received payment; the total amount paid to applicants to date; the number of applications still awaiting processing; his views on the progress made this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45537/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have been informed by Student Universal Support Ireland that all 59,000 applications received by the 5 August closing date have been processed and that 4,000 new applications received following the closing date and up to early September have also been processed. 3,600 new applications received since early September are currently being processed but priority is being given to applications received before the closing date and to the final assessment of those applications for which documents were submitted on time.

Currently, SUSI has processed 35,000 of the 41,000 applications in respect of which documents were received before the 24 September deadline for submitting documents. The remaining 6,000 applications will be processed by end-October. A further 8,000 applications in respect of which documents were received after the 24 September deadline will then be processed during November.

Regarding the 2012/13 academic year, by late September 2012, just over 6,500 students had returned their documents on time and 4,300 of these applications had been processed at the final assessment stage. Data is not yet available from SUSI on the total number, or a breakdown on a county by county basis, of payments made to students.

For the 2013/14 academic year the grants administration process has undergone significant development to enhance its effectiveness and deal with the difficulties experienced last year. I am assured by City of Dublin Education and Training Board that SUSI is continuing to develop and improve its services and will deliver a much-improved service to students in 2013.

Research and Development Funding

Questions (117)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

117. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the multiple independent procurements of research grant management software by agencies under the control of his Department and the total cost to the taxpayer of these systems; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the same supplier has supplied all but one of these systems and that all are compliant with European Commission standards on the exchange of research information and are all capable of being integrated into one grant management system, as has been done in the US and the UK with the consequent savings that produces; the reason, despite the existence of a national research platform report, no progress has been made on the implementation of an integrated national research platform; and if his attention has been drawn to the consequent diversion of resources in research bodies, HEs and others to the management of these multiple systems and away from the proper good governance of public resources spent on research. [45567/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, competitive research funding made available from my Department is managed by one body, the Irish Research Council. The Council uses an online grant management system for all its research programmes which provides an efficient and user-friendly service to applicants. This system was first procured by its predecessor, the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology in 2008, and developments to date have cost €128,980. There is also an annual licence and maintenance cost of some €16,000.

I understand that this system is also used by other national research funding agencies and that these agencies have joined to create a user group to explore ways to optimise their use of the system and to examine common requirements and opportunities for efficiencies. It is important to note that each system is customised for that agency's particular programmes and clientele, however, efforts are being made to streamline the systems where possible and to maximise opportunities for efficiencies.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (118)

Seán Fleming

Question:

118. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the expenditure adjustment that will be made within his Department in 2014; the full year impact of expenditure measures that will be taken in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45584/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In Budget 2014 my Department was required to secure savings of €44 million to meet the ceiling set in the Comprehensive Expenditure Review 2012-14.

The Department has been able to identify sufficient expenditure savings to allow me protect frontline education services in 2014, including protecting class sizes. Savings that have recently crystallised, particularly in relation to superannuation expenditure, have reduced the amount the Department is required to find through policy measures to €33 million. The following table outlines the savings measures taken to secure these savings and their full year impact.

Savings Measure

2014

F/Year

 Reduction in allocation to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

€25m

0

Abolish €20 long-term unemployment bonus paid to FAS, VTOS and Youthreach participants (new entrants)

€2m

€7m

Require FAS apprentices to pay pro-rata Student Services Charge proportionate to the percentage of time they spend in IOTs.       

€1m

€1m

Savings arising from adjustments in cases where FAS training course participants can receive concurrent DES and DSP payments.

€5m

€5m

Office of Public Works Properties

Questions (119)

Robert Dowds

Question:

119. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a list of all the properties leased or rented on behalf of the State which are not fully occupied; the extent to which these are not fully occupied; and the rent being paid by the State for the unoccupied space by building. [45338/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The civil service office accommodation portfolio held by the Commissioners of Public Works comprises over 860,000 square metres, 58% of which is owned and 42% is leased. None of the leased office buildings within the portfolio are vacant.

The Commissioners actively manage the portfolio to ensure optimal use of space and this ongoing process has resulted in substantial reductions in the office property footprint and annual rental expenditure. Between 2008 and the end of 2012, the Commissioners have surrendered over 87,000 square metres of office space and reduced its annual rent roll by €27.6 million.

The Commissioners have no occupancy details for leased premises in the wider public service.

Research and Development Funding

Questions (120)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

120. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the multiple independent procurements of research grant management software by agencies under the control of his Department and the total cost to the taxpayer of these systems; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the same supplier has supplied all but one of these systems and that all are compliant with European Commission standards on the exchange of research information and are all capable of being integrated into one grant management system, as has been done in the US and the UK with the consequent savings that produces; the reason, despite the existence of a national research platform report, no progress has been made on the implementation of an integrated national research platform; and if his attention has been drawn to the consequent diversion of resources in research bodies, HEs and others to the management of these multiple systems and away from the proper good governance of public resources spent on research. [45565/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

In response to the Deputy's question none of the Offices or Agencies under the remit of my Department has procured the research grant management software referred to. Neither my Department nor the Offices or Agencies under my remit are familiar with the specific applications referred to in the question, but I would certainly agree that it is the case that multiple systems can often be integrated. The feasibility of this will generally depend on the availability of published standards for the interfaces and the licensing models employed, but the most important issue will be whether the underlying business processes in the research/education entities are also aligned.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (121)

Seán Fleming

Question:

121. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason the 2014 expenditure report did not separately show the 2014 and full-year effect of expenditure measures announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45579/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 (CER) published by my Department on 5 December 2011 set out current expenditure ceilings for Departments for the period 2012 to 2014. The ceilings and savings measures contained in the CER were informed by the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) carried out in 2011. In setting out current expenditure ceilings for 2012 to 2014, the CER outlined the impact of 2012 savings on subsequent years and also the further savings that would be required to remain within the ceilings in 2013 and 2014. The savings measures specified were a direct result of the CRE process where Departments realigned spending plans for the three year period with Departmental priorities.

The Expenditure Report 2013 reconciled changes in the expenditure ceilings for 2013 and 2014 with those published in the CER and outlined the savings necessary to adhere to the 2014 ceiling taking into account the effect in 2014 of savings measures to be implemented in 2014. As the Expenditure Report 2014 deals with savings for the final period covered by the ceilings set out in the CER, the reconciliation versus the previous ceiling and detail in respect of expenditure savings measures was provided exclusively for 2014.

As I announced on Budget Day, the next CRE will commence in the coming months. This CRE will inform the final determination of expenditure allocations for 2015 to 2017 to ensure alignment between the multi-year expenditure ceilings and developing Government priorities.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (122)

Seán Fleming

Question:

122. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to set out the expenditure adjustment that will be made within his Department in 2014; the full-year impact of expenditure measures that will be taken in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45589/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's budget and staffing allocation reflects its strategy of delivering well managed and well-targeted public spending, delivered through modernised, effective and accountable public services. While savings have accrued due to the transfer of certain functions and pay reductions across the group, these are offset due to the significant start-up costs of the shared services and the transfer of maintenance service costs to OPW.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, together with the Shared Services and Office of Government Procurement functions, continues to deliver key outputs set out in the Public Service Reform Plan which was published in November 2011. This investment in the Government's reform agenda will yield longer term cost savings and facilitate service continuity in a smaller and leaner Public Service. When these centres are fully operational, annual savings targets are estimated as follows:

- Office of Government Procurement - The procurement reform programme is targeting up to €500m of much needed savings for tax payers over the next 3 years.

- Peoplepoint (transactional HR) - €12.5m

- Payroll Shared Services (transactional payroll and pension services) - €5.6m

My Department has also collaborated with the Department of Finance to achieve administrative efficiencies within our shared facilities, particularly in the accommodation footprint.

Employment Data

Questions (123)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

123. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of jobs created, the number of jobs lost and the net change in employment in enterprises supported by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and county enterprise boards for each year since 2009; and the targets for gross and net jobs growth for each body for 2014. [45392/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Forfás Annual Employment Survey, which is usually carried out in October of each year, reports on job gains and losses in companies that are supported by the Enterprise Development agencies. Details of the level of employment, job losses and the number of new jobs created in IDA and Enterprise Ireland client companies in each year from 2009 to 2012, are set out in the following Tables 1 and 2.

It should be noted that prior to 2010, CEBs could only report on the number of jobs existing in CEB-supported companies. In 2010, the CEBs' data recording system was changed thereby enabling them to produce figures for jobs existing, job gains and job losses for the years from 2010 onwards. The figures for jobs created and lost in CEB-supported companies since 2010 are set out in the following Table 3. 2012 was a particularly good year for job creation in Agency supported companies, with IDA client companies creating a total of 12,722 gross new jobs (6,570 net new jobs). The IDA client base in Ireland now employs 136,505 people on a full time permanent basis, a level last recorded before the global financial crisis began in 2008. Clients of Enterprise Ireland created 12,861 gross new jobs (3,338 net new jobs).

The 2013 Forfás Employment Survey, which will be available in early 2014, will detail jobs created by the client companies of the above Agencies. As highlighted in my Budget 2014 press release last week, both Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have a target of 12,000 gross jobs growth each for 2014. As part of the CEB restructuring process, which will lead to the establishment of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in each County, a range of performance metrics are being developed within a framework Service Level Agreement. These metrics will include jobs targets for each LEO to deliver. The CEB/LEOs are expected to support the creation of a further 4,500 gross jobs in 2014.

Table 1: Jobs Created and Lost and Net Change in companies supported by Enterprise Ireland since 2009

Enterprise Ireland

2009

2010

2011

2012

Jobs Created

8,888

10,987

14,023

12,861

Jobs Lost

27,891

15,354

10,453

9,523

Net Change

-19,003

-4,367

+3,570

+3,338

Table 2: Jobs Created and Lost and Net Change in companies supported by IDA Ireland since 2009

IDA Ireland

2009

2010

2011

2012

Jobs Created

4,615

9,075

13,068

12,722

Jobs Lost

18,028

9,545

6,950

6,152

Net Change

-13,413

-470

+6,118

+6,570

Table 3: Jobs Created and Lost and Net Change in companies supported by the County & City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) since 2010

IDA Ireland

2009

2010

2011

2012

Jobs Created

4,615

9,075

13,068

12,722

Jobs Lost

18,028

9,545

6,950

6,152

Net Change

-13,413

-470

+6,118

+6,570

Departmental Agencies Funding

Questions (124)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

124. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the capital, current and total funding allocated to Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and county enterprise boards for each year since 2009; and the capital and current budget allocated for 2014. [45393/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The capital allocations to Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the County Enterprise Boards are set out in the following table. Where relevant, the table also highlights additional capital carryover provided to Agencies to facilitate them in operating multi-annual programmes.

Table 1: 2009 to 2013 Capital Allocations

Agency

2009

Allocation

2010

Allocation

2011

Allocation

2012

Allocation

2013 Allocation

Enterprise Ireland – enterprise

€94.8m +

€3.5m Capital Carryover

€77.5m

€72.5m

€70.5m +

€13.125m Capital Carryover

€55m +

€11m Capital Carryover

Enterprise Ireland – research and innovation

€125.936m +

€0.5m Capital Carryover

€121.393m

€131.393m

€132m +

€5m Capital Carryover

€127m

Industrial Development Agency

€73.594m

€86m + €5m Capital Carryover

€86m

€86m

€79m + €7m Capital Carryover

Science Foundation Ireland

€159.941m + €5.5m Capital Carryover

€150m

€160.8m

€156m

€145.3m + €7m Capital Carryover

County Enterprise Boards*

€14.229m + €6m

€14.994m + €3.3m

€15m + €3.3m

€15m + €3.78m

€15m + €3.18m

*Enterprise Ireland Capital Allocations 2009 and 2010 included €78m funding towards the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund.

**County and City Enterprise Board (CEB) Capital Allocations

In 2009, the CEBs received an initial capital allocation of €14.229 which was supplemented by an additional €6m under the Capital Carryover process. In the years from 2010 to 2013, the initial CEB Capital allocations were supplemented by additional allocations during the year, as outlined in the previous Table 1, from savings achieved elsewhere in the Department's Vote.

Table 1: 2009 to 2013 Current Allocations

Agency

2009

Allocation

2010

Allocation

2011

Allocation

2012

Allocation

2013 Allocation

Enterprise Ireland – enterprise*

€102.222m

€93.954m

€91.723m

€85.287m

€80.841m

Enterprise Ireland – research and innovation

€7.752m

€6.694m

€8.866m

€7.942m

€4.685m

Industrial Development Agency

€41.877m

€39.24m

€38.577m

€35.822m

€38.447m

Science Foundation Ireland

€10.583m

€9.833m

€14.342m

€13.669m

€10.05m

County Enterprise Boards

€13.583m

€13.316m

€12.242m

€11.386m

10.893m

*In addition to direct financial support to industry, this allocation also includes funding support for Seed & Venture Capital.

2014 Capital Allocation

The Exchequer DJEI capital allocation for 2014 is €442m, which it is expected, together with both capital carryover and reinvestment of income generated by agencies, will maintain IDA, SFI, EI and CEB allocations broadly in line with 2013 expenditure. The issue of Capital Carryover will be decided in the context of the Revised Estimates Volume that will be conducted during November and early December. Individual Agency allocations will be agreed when final capital carryover amounts have been confirmed.

2014 Current Allocation

The Department's current expenditure ceiling for 2014 has been set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform at €339m. This includes the total Pay, Pensions and Non-Pay expenditure provisions for the Department, its offices and its agencies for next year. The distribution of this current expenditure provision will also be decided as part of the Revised Estimates process during November and early December.