Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Questions (62)

Dara Calleary


62. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the current operational structure of his Department outlining the management structure but excluding naming of personnel; the responsibilities of each section; the number of persons working in each section; his plans for reforming this structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50918/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

An organisation chart for the Department of Education and Skills is set out in the attached Table 1 (interactive version available on Department's website). A breakdown of the responsibilities and staffing numbers in each area is set out in the attached Table 2. Further more detailed staffing and operational information is available on my Department's website.

The current policy on public sector numbers means that even though this Department has already experienced a significant reduction in staffing numbers we will continue to operate in an environment of diminished resources for the foreseeable future. At the same time demands on the education and training system and on the Department's staff have increased due to increases in numbers attending education and training courses. The ability of the Department to continue to deliver high quality services and advance the reform agenda has only proved possible due to a high degree of collaboration, commitment and flexibility shown by my Department's staff in adopting new work practices and through co-operation with the redeployment of staff around the Department to meet fluctuating demands. This type of working environment is an increasing feature in the Department where staff mobility and flexibility together with the introduction of new ways of working through IT developments and new business processes help the Department respond to the challenges of staffing reductions and diminished resources.

My Department will continue to prioritise areas of activity and processes which can be reviewed/ amalgamated/discontinued to ensure a continuation of existing levels of service with reduced resources as well as working within centrally led reform projects such as shared Human Resources and Shared Payroll.

Table 1:



Management & Organisation



SecretaryGeneralSeán Ó Foghlú


Internal Audit Unit



ESF/Policy and Operations

External HR

Central Policy Unit

Higher Education Equity of Access

Schools Financialand ETB Financial/Adminis-trative Personnel

Corporate Services

Planning Building and PPPs




EGF Managing Authority

School Transport

Public Service Reform

Higher Education Policy and Skills

Parents, Learners and Database Unit

Finance Unit



Qualifications Curriculum and Assessment Policy


Further Education


Early Years Education

Higher Education Research and Funding

Teacher Allocation



Special Education Incl Special Education Litigation

Teacher Education


NDP/EU StructuralFunds & FÁS Liaison and TrainingEstimates




School Governance Policies



Social Inclusion

ICT Policy




Legal Services


Teachers,SNAsTerms and Conditions

Press andCommun-ications















Table 2:

Area of responsibility/section


Staffing Number (FTE)

Management Advisory Committee (MAC) which includes inter alia the Secretary General as well as the Chief Inspector

Providing strategic direction and overseeing the administration of public education and training in Ireland.


Secretary General’s Office/MAC Support

Secretarial service for the Secretary General and other members of the Management Advisory Committee. The Secretary General’s office also deals with Memoranda for Government and Parliamentary Questions.


Internal Audit and European Social Fund (ESF) Financial Control

The Internal Audit Unit is responsible for establishing that the accounting systems, procedures and controls operated by the Department and relevant other bodies as appropriate, are being complied with and are capable of realising policy objectives in an economic, efficient and effective manner. This includes auditing those parts of the operations co-funded by the European Union and incorporated in the National Development Plan for which the Department has responsibility.


European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) Managing Authority

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) Managing Authority is responsible for managing and overseeing the delivery of programmes co-financed by the EGF in Ireland.


European Social Fund (ESF) Managing Authority and Skills Development Division (incl.NDP/EU Structural Funds & FÁS Liaison and Training Estimates)

The European Social Fund (ESF) Managing Authority, which is part of the European Social Fund Policy & Operations Unit/Skills Division in the Department, is tasked with the effective administration and implementation of the Fund in Ireland. Skills Development Division, through FÁS, ETBs and Skillnets, funds and monitors the provision of further education and training programmes for individuals who are seeking to avail of further vocational education and training opportunities in order to enhance their employment prospects and to enable them to acquire accredited qualifications. The Structural Funds Unit monitors and reports on the progress.


of activities in the education sector that are aided by the European Union Structural Funds (ESF-European Social Fund and ERDF-European Regional Development Fund).

External Staff Relations

The External Staff Relations Unit manages industrial relations for the wider education sector. The Unit's function is to promote good industrial relations practice throughout the education sector and encourage and support the modernisation of the sector.


School Transport Section

School Transport Section of the Department determines policy relating to school transport and administers the School Transport Schemes.


North/South Co-operation Section

The North/South Co-operation Section co-ordinates and develops co-operation and common action in education between both parts of the island of Ireland and with relevant institutions in the US and EU, in the context of the Good Friday Agreement. The principal function of the Unit is to take forward this co-operation through the North/South Ministerial Council.


Pensions Unit

The Pension Unit administers pension schemes for teachers, special needs assistants, certain clerical officers and certain caretakers in primary schools. The Unit also provides policy advice and information on pensions to Education and Training Boards (ETBs), third level institutions and other bodies under the aegis of the Department.


Central Policy/ Legal Services Unit

The Central Policy Unit co-ordinates a wide range of cross-departmental policy issues for the Department. The section also coordinates the Department’s Public Service Reform Programme and the Department’s response to the Organisational Review completed in 2011.

The Legal Services Unit advises the Minister and the Department on legal issues and ensures the effective management of litigation in which the Minister is a party. The unit also coordinates the Department's legislation programme.


Public Service Reform Programme Office

Coordinates the Department’s Public Service Reform Programme and the Department’s response to the Organisational Review completed in 2011.


Early Years Education Policy Unit

The Early Years Education Policy Unit in the Department of Education and Skills is co-located with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) to ensure that policy developments in the early childhood sector are developed within an overall strategic policy framework for children.


Statistics Section

The Statistics Section is responsible for the collection and analysis of statistical data and trends relating to education at a national level. The section is also responsible for the provision of data to international organisations.


Higher Education - Equity of Access Section

The Higher Education - Equity of Access Section is responsible for the development of national policy on equity of access to higher education for all students and, in particular, for under-represented groups such as disadvantaged students, mature students and students with disabilities.


Higher Education - Policy and Skills

Higher Education - Policy and Skills has responsibility for ensuring an effective policy framework for higher education that supports delivery of high quality teaching, research and engagement by Irish higher education institutions. This includes development and compliance with the legislation governing the sector. The section also has a key policy remit to ensure the provision of higher education and training relevant to the skills needs of the labour force and to support the up-skilling of unemployed people.


Higher Education (Research and Finance)

The Higher Education (Research and Finance) Section is responsible for formulating and reviewing budgetary allocations for the provision of higher education. The funding of the Universities, Institutes of Technology and other Higher Education Authority (HEA) designated institutions is made via the HEA. The HEA deals with the individual budgets of the institutions and makes resources available as required. Other non-designated HEA institutions are funded directly by the Department through a core grant, and in the case of some institutions, the cost of free undergraduate tuition fees is met. This section is also involved in determining the criteria for the free tuition fees scheme which is administered by the third level institutions and for the development and implementation of policy in relation to the development of high quality research and innovation capabilities in higher education institutions.


Schools Financial and ETB Financial & Administrative Personnel Section and the ETB/SOLAS Project Office

The role of the Schools Financial and ETB Financial & Administrative Personnel Section is to support a high quality inclusive school education system within the primary and post primary sectors. The section discharges a range of operational, resourcing and support functions relating to the payment of grants to first and second level schools and Education and Training Boards (ETBs), and performs a range of personnel and staff relations functions in respect of Community & Comprehensive schools and ETBs.


Parents, Learners and Database Unit

The Parents, Learners and Database Unit administers appeals under Section 29 of the Education Act, provides advice to parents and students on the operation of schools’ complaint procedures and manages the Post Primary Pupil Database.


Teacher Allocation/School Governance Unit

The role of the Teacher Allocation Unit is to allocate staffing resources to primary, secondary, community and comprehensive schools and Education and Training Boards (ETBs) in accordance with departmental and government policy. School Governance Section support the effective governance, management and operation of schools.


Teachers and SNA’s Terms and Conditions Section

The role of the Terms and Conditions Section of the Department is to regulate the employment terms and conditions governing Teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNA’s) employed in recognised primary and post primary schools.


Corporate Services

Corporate Services provides a range of supports to enable internal units to carry out their key business functions. It comprises the following Units, Accommodation & Services, Freedom of Information, Records Management and Corporate Development.


Finance Unit

The Finance Unit provides a financial framework and control system for the Department in accordance with government financial and statutory requirements. The unit operates a system for recording all receipts and payments in conjunction with the Pay Master General and the Central Bank. It coordinates and prepares the Statutory Vote accounts and briefing material for the Appearance of the Secretary General at the Public Accounts Committee.


IT Unit

The IT Unit supports the achievement of the Department's business objectives through the provision of IT systems and services.


Personnel Unit/ Ministerial Offices/Correspondence Unit

The Personnel Unit is responsible for managing the human resources function in the Department in the three main office and local office locations and providing the relevant supports to staff. Ministerial support to one Minister and two Ministers of State.


Press Office

The Press Office provides a press service to respond to media queries. The unit also provides an information and support service to the Minister and Ministers of State and works to improve communications within the Department.


Payroll Division

The Payroll Division provides a payroll service to teaching and non-teaching staff in primary, voluntary secondary and community and comprehensive schools. Retired personnel are also paid through this service.


Planning and Building Unit

The Planning and Building Unit is responsible for identifying the need for school accommodation, setting out the technical specifications for educational buildings, ensuring that standards are maintained, prioritising the allocation of resources and overseeing the delivery of the capital programme.


National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) supports the personal, social and educational development of all children through the application of psychological theory and practice in education. The service is organised on a regional basis with psychologists being assigned to a group of schools. Where a school doesn't have an assigned psychologist, it can avail of a service from an independently employed panel of psychologists.


Residential Institutions Redress Unit

The Residential Institutions Redress Unit manages the Department’s response to initiatives for the redress of child abuse in residential institutions.


Special Education Section

Special Education Section is responsible for the development of policy for children with special educational needs and the development of comprehensive, efficient and effective services for these children. The section maintains close links with the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), the remit of which includes direct delivery of services that will facilitate access to education for children with disabilities. Special Educational Needs Organisers employed by the NCSE are based throughout the country to co-ordinate services at local level. While the NCSE has a research and advisory role, the Department continues to have responsibility for policy.


Social Inclusion Unit

Social Inclusion Unit is responsible for developing and promoting a co-ordinated Department response to tackling educational disadvantage from pre-school through to second-level education.


International Section

The International Section manages the Department’s engagement with international partners, including the European Union, Council of Europe, OECD and UNESCO, to enhance international policy co-operation in education and training. It also has responsibility for policy development and co-ordination in the promotion of Ireland as a centre for international education.


Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Policy Unit (QCAP)

The Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Policy Unit (QCAP) is responsible for the support of the development of overall policy relating to assessment, curricula and guidance. It is also responsible for EU Directive 2005/36/EC (Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications) and the National Framework of Qualifications.


Teacher Education Section (TES) and the Information and Communications Technology) Policy Unit

Teacher Education Section (TES) reflects the Department's view of teacher education as a continuum from initial teacher education to induction and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). TES promotes the quality of teaching and learning through the provision of quality teacher training programmes, CPD and support for principals and teachers. This is done through the teacher education programmes, education centres and support services for teachers at primary and post-primary level. The management of this process is supported through steering committees and provision of policy support, as well as liaison with the Teaching Council, the Inspectorate and other sections of the Department on a range of issues.

The ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Policy Unit promotes the integration of ICT in teaching and learning in first and second level.



The Inspectorate is a division of the Department of Education and Skills. It is a statutory body

as our role and functions are defined by Section 13 of the Education Act 1998 and some other

pieces of legislation. Broadly, these functions are concerned with the evaluation of the

educational system (particularly at primary and second level) and the provision of support and

advice to school communities, policy makers and the Minister and the educational system generally.