My Department is co-operating actively with the decentralisation implementation committee and the Department of Finance with regard to the decentralisation programme announced in the budget for 2004. This envisages the decentralisation of all Dublin based functions of my Department, with the exception of Met Éireann and some local based services, to Wexford which will serve as headquarters, Waterford, New Ross and Kilkenny. Some 660 Dublin based staff are involved in discharging these functions. The National Building Agency and the Local Government Computer Services Board will also be involved in the decentralisation programme.
My Department considers that a survey of its staff, and that of other Departments and agencies, to determine interest in transferring to decentralised locations will most valuably be undertaken when greater clarification on detailed arrangements is available following, inter alia, the report of the implementation committee. My Department has already set up an internal implementation team for decentralisation which will report regularly to me and my Department's management advisory committee. I intend that there will be full and timely communication with staff of the Department on the progress of the decentralisation programme, through the Department's partnership committee and other channels. My Department is also committed to developing innovative approaches to information management, communications and logistics to maintain and improve the quality of service to be delivered under decentralised arrangements and to minimise disruption.