Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Questions (104)

Robert Dowds


104. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when she will appoint a new Secretary General to her Department; and the reason for the delay. [39679/15]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As I have informed the House in response to previous questions on this matter, appointments to the position of Secretary General are a function of Government. The recruitment process is undertaken by the Top Level Appointments Commission (TLAC) through the Public Appointments Service (PAS).

An open international recruitment competition for the post of Secretary General was independently run by the PAS on behalf of TLAC in 2014. However, the PAS process did not lead to any candidate being recommended for the position at that time. I am on record as saying that the circumstances facing the Justice sector at the time proved to be a factor in the position not being filled.

Mr. Noel Waters, formerly the Director General of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, has taken on the duties of Secretary General in my Department since October last. Mr. Waters fulfils all the duties of the post.

Implementation of a change programme arising from the recommendation of the Independent Review of my Department as well as the Civil Service Renewal Programme has been a top priority for my Department and this has resulted in a comprehensive range of reforms and developments including:

- Establishment of a new Management Board structure and management processes in the Department;

- Implementation of new service level agreements and new structures to ensure better oversight and coordination of all agencies under the Department’s auspices;

- Development of new HR and training policies;

- Introduction of new audit and risk management procedures;

- Establishment of a new Corporate Secretariat and appointment of a Head of Communications;

- Establishment and selection of the new post of Deputy Secretary General;

- Continuing work on a major upgrade of the Department ICT systems.

A broader programme of reform and investment has been delivered by the Department of Justice & Equality over the past year including:

- Recruitment of Garda Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners has been opened up;

- Publication of legislation to establish an independent Policing Authority;

- Enactment of the Marriage Act 2015 conferring equal status for all in relation to marriage;

- Enactment of legislation to strengthen GSOC;

- Commencement of work by the new Court of Appeals;

- Enactment of the Child & Family Relationship Act, the biggest reform in family law in the history of the State;

- Progression of the landmark Legal Service Regulation Bill;

- Reopening of Garda College to new recruits, provision for the recruitment of 1,150 trainee Gardaí by the end of 2016 and continued investment in new Garda vehicles.

With the substantial reform of the Department of Justice & Equality now becoming embedded, I will consider this matter again in due course.