Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (119)

Catherine Murphy


119. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the precise stages of the recruitment process which has been utilised by Irish Water in the recruitment of staff; if this pattern was followed in respect of hires at all grades within the new utility; if he will describe the differing recruitment process at each grade level; the number of staff that have been recruited to date under each differing process; the number of staff that have been seconded and the grades of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4979/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Staff recruitment to Irish Water is an operational matter for the company and I have no role in such matters. I understand from Irish Water that the staffing requirements of the company were defined based on the requirements of a high performance utility model. The roles required were identified, job descriptions were developed and positions then advertised.

Due to the scale, volume and deadlines involved in establishing Irish Water, recruitment agencies were selected under the normal procurement rules to assist with the recruitment process. In June 2013 it was agreed by the Steering Group for the Water Sector Reform Programme that, in order to ensure skills within the sector were fully availed of in building up the new organisation, competitions for positions in Asset Management, Capital Delivery and Operations and Maintenance would be restricted to staff in the three partner organisations (i.e. Bord Gáis Éireann, Local Authorities and DECLG), in the first instance. If these particular roles are not filled by this process they then proceed to open competition.

The candidates for positions in the company were screened and shortlisted to proceed to interview. The interview is a competency based interview conducted by Irish Water. Competency interviews are a well established structured interview technique designed to allow the candidate to draw on their past experience to illustrate their suitability for the role.

346 staff have been recruited to up to 30 January 2014 - 125 from Local Authorities, 61 from Bord Gáis, 6 from my Department and 154 others. In the case of the local authority and Departmental staff who were successful in this competitive recruitment process, their initial period with Irish Water is on a secondment basis pending the establishment of the superannuation arrangements provided for under the Water Services No. 2 Act, 2013. No other secondment arrangements are in place for the Irish Water organisation, but a number of staff have been seconded to the Irish Water Programme to assist in the metering programme and the establishment of Irish Water.

All 9 Executive roles were filled through open competition and were prominently advertised in 6 national newspapers. Relevant people across the UK and Northern Ireland water utility sector were identified, and exploratory discussions took place with approximately 90 people. In almost all cases, those approached in the UK/NI water utility sector were not interested in pursuing the opportunity primarily because they were not interested in a career move, or in relocating, or because the salary on offer was not attractive vis-à-vis their existing salary and terms of employment. Each member of the 9 person Executive Team was appointed after competing against candidates from the open market.