I move amendment No. 12:
In page 11, to delete lines 22 to 40 and substitute the following:
“(4) Where the Director General is absent the functions of the Director General referred to in subsection (1) may be performed by such appointed director as may be designated by the Director General from time to time, with the consent of the Minister.
(5) If the office of Director General is vacant, the functions of the Director General referred to in subsection (1) may be performed by such appointed director as may be designated by the Minister for the purposes of this subsection.
(6) For the purposes of subsections (4) and (5), where in this Act or in any other enactment functions are assigned to the Director General or provision is made in this Act or in such enactment as to the manner in which a function so assigned is to be performed by the Director General any such reference to the Director General shall be construed as including a reference to the appointed director designated by the Director General under subsection (4) or, as the case may be, the Minister under subsection (5) for so long as that appointed director stands so designated and entitled to perform the functions of the Director General.
(7) Where the Director General resumes duty the person designated under subsection (4) shall cease to perform the functions of the Director General.”.
Section 16G of the 2004 Act provides for the general functions and the role of the director general. These include managing and controlling the business of the HSE. In these operational aspects of his or her role, the DG is answerable to the directorate as the governing authority for the HSE. Section 16G(1) provides that in addition to his or her functions as a member of the directorate and as the chairperson of the directorate, the DG shall carry on, manage and control generally the administration and business of the HSE, perform such other functions as may be delegated to him or her by the directorate and perform such functions as may be assigned to him or her under this Act or any other enactment.
Under section 16G(2), the DG is responsible to the directorate for the performance of his or her CEO type functions, that is, carrying on, managing and controlling generally the administration and business of the HSE, performing such functions as may be delegated to him or her by the directorate and preform such other functions as may be delegated to him or her by the directorate and perform such functions as may be assigned to him or her under this Act or any other enactment. He or she is also responsible to the directorate for the implementation of its policies.
However, under section 16G(3), this responsibility to the directorate does not apply to the DG's functions as a member of the directorate and as the chairperson of the directorate. Legislation generally provides for a deputy to act in the absence of the CEO or when the office of CEO is vacant. Section 16G(4) currently provides that in the extended absence of the DG or if the office of DG is vacant, the functions of the DG may be performed for such period not exceeding six months by an appointed director, that is, a member of the directorate designated by the Minister. This came about in part because the Department did not want to give weight to the idea of a standing grade of deputy DG. However, the HSE has expressed a concern that in any event there should be provision in the Bill for the DG to be able to nominate a stand in even where he or she is absent for only a short period.
Amendment No. 12 deals with the absence of the DG and a vacancy in the office of DG and provides for designation by the DG options and the Minister to address those situations. Amendment No. 13 is consequential and deals with the chairing of meetings of the directorate in the absence of the DG or a vacancy in that office where a designation has been made.