Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (126)

Mick Barry


126. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the decision to increase the pay for the Secretary General of the Department of Health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20331/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have statutory responsibility for the remuneration of civil servants, as set out in Section 17 of the Civil Service Regulation Act 1956 (as amended):

Miscellaneous powers of the Minister in relation to the Civil Service:

17. — (1) The Minister shall be responsible for the following matters—

(a) the regulation and control of the Civil Service,

(b) the classification, re-classification, numbers and remuneration of civil servants,

(c) the fixing of—

(i) the terms and conditions of service of civil servants, and

(ii) the conditions governing the promotion of civil servants.

(2) The Minister may, for the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, make such arrangements as he thinks fit and may cancel or vary those arrangements.

With regard to the terms to apply for recruitment to the post of Secretary General in the Department of Health, I engaged with the Taoiseach, the Minister for Health and the Secretary General to the Government. The factors taken into account in determining the salary, as outlined in previous correspondence to the Committee, included:

- That in recent years increased terms have been agreed for recruitment to certain senior roles of strategic importance in the public service, including the post of Garda Commissioner (€269,068), and in the Health Sector, the post of CEO of the HSE (€363,248). These revised terms were agreed in recognition of increased responsibilities and challenges associated with the roles and the need to attract candidates of a necessary calibre to deliver on Government priorities.

- That the post of Secretary General in the Department of Health is a highly complex one with a very challenging brief, particularly so in the midst of a global pandemic.

- The role will require an individual with the ability, ambition and experience to take on this large portfolio with a Department of almost 600 staff and 19 non-commercial state bodies under its aegis, including the HSE and a sector employing over 125,000 people.

- The very significant responsibilities attached to this role including: the ongoing management of the response to the COVID public health emergency; the COVID vaccine rollout programme in the immediate term; implementing the Government’s ambition for the rollout of Sláintecare; and the management of the greatly increased budget of €22 billion for Health in 2021.

- That a salary of €292,000 is commensurate with the scale of these responsibilities and the unique challenges attached to this role, not least at the current time.

As the Deputy may be aware, I have previously provided information relating to my responsibilities regarding the post of the Secretary General in the Department of Health in the context of my statement and appearance before the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach on 2nd February last.

Documents related to the matter have also been published by my Department, and are available at the links below: 2nd-february/

Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 123.