I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 to 24, inclusive, together.
The economic division in my Department assists me and the Government in developing and implementing policy to deliver sustainable and regionally balanced economic growth and quality jobs, as well as to promote effective planning and delivery of infrastructural developments, including housing.
The Cabinet committees and associated senior officials groups backed by the division help to implement policies in these areas. Cabinet committee A deals with issues relating to the economy and the labour market, competitiveness, productivity, rural development, the digital economy and pensions. It last met on 12 November and the next meeting has not yet been scheduled. Cabinet committee D works to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the delivery and ongoing development of policy across the areas of infrastructure investment, housing and climate action. It provides political oversight on Project Ireland 2040. It last met on 31 January.
The economic division also leads Ireland's participation in the annual European semester process. It prepares the annual national risk assessment, which provides an opportunity to identify and consider potential economic risks and challenges on a structured basis. The 2018 report was published in July. The 2019 national risk assessment process will commence shortly. The division is also responsible for liaison with the Central Statistics Office.
The division is leading the preparation of the Future Jobs initiative in partnership with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Future Jobs is the Government's new economic initiative to ensure we are well placed to meet future challenges facing the Irish economy. Future Jobs will drive our development as a resilient, innovative and globally connected economy capable of coping with technological and other transformational changes ahead. It is aimed at enhancing productivity, labour market participation, innovation, skills and talent and the low-carbon economy. My note states that it will be launched in the next two weeks but it will not, although I hope it might go to Cabinet in the next two weeks.
A unit with the economic division works with the Minister of State with responsibility for data protection to help ensure a whole-of-Government approach to data protection and broader digital issues. In this regard the unit provides the secretariat to the interdepartmental committee on data issues and to the Government data forum. The division is currently leading the development of a new overarching national digital strategy in collaboration with other relevant Departments to enable us to maximise the societal and economic benefits from digitalisation. That will be published in the first half of this year.
The division provides me with briefing and speech material on economic and related policy issues. Given its role, the division works closely with colleagues in the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as other Departments that have lead responsibility for specific policy areas.
The division contributes to work across my Department and the wider Civil Service in response to the challenge posed by Brexit. In particular, the division is currently working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other Departments on no-deal contingency planning. This is a priority task as long as there is a risk of a no-deal outcome.