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Public Sector Reform Implementation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 12 March 2014

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Questions (77)

Noel Harrington


77. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will consider setting up one unit within the public service to conduct means tests for all means-tested payments administered by different Departments and State agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12269/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Government's new Public Service Reform Plan 2014-16, which I published in January, has a strong emphasis on continuing to drive reduced costs and greater efficiency, alongside an increased focus on citizen engagement and improving outcomes for service users. We will continue to examine ways to reduce the administrative burden on the public by eliminating duplication and developing shared approaches to delivering services such as means testing.

At present, the shared services strategy in the Public Service is concentrating on back office services, including human resources and pensions administration, payroll and financial management. Major initiatives in these areas make up the focus of shared service effort at present. International best practice and experience in the public sector demonstrates the critical importance of concentrating in the first instance on these back office services where public servants are themselves the ultimate customer. I am satisfied with the progress we are making based on this approach. This and other areas of progress on the implementation of the Public Service Reform Plan are set out in the recently published progress report, which is available at

More specifically, the Departments involved in means testing would be expected to review their business processes and consider opportunities for appropriate collaboration. In addition, the Deputy will be aware that the Heads of a Data-Sharing and Governance Bill are being prepared by my Department. It is intended that this will include provisions defining a common means data set for an individual which could be shared between specified bodies.