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Departmental Expenditure.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 18 December 2007

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Ceisteanna (85, 86)

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

132 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Taoiseach if his Department or any of its agencies has paid in advance for works or services that will not be commenced before the end of the 2007 financial year; the reasons for doing this; the amount of the payments; the recipients and the nature of the works or services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34758/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

135 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Taoiseach if his Department or its agencies has paid in advance for works or services that will not be completed before the end of the 2007 financial year; the reasons for doing so; the amount of the payments; the recipients and the nature of the works or services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34890/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 135 together.

My Department has not paid in advance for works or services that will not be completed or commenced before the end of the 2007 financial year. However, it should be noted that my Department and its agencies are required to pay some suppliers in advance for items such as subscriptions for magazines and journals (hard copy and on-line versions), local authority bin charges, domain and website registrations, software support and licence fees, some maintenance contracts and prepaid technician hours.

In the case of the Director of Public Prosecutions Office, a sum of €515,207 was paid in advance to the Office of Public Works to cover the fit out costs and the securement of additional office space. It should be noted that the Central Statistics Office (CSO) does occasionally make ‘Agency Services' payments i.e. advances to the OPW to facilitate the commencement of works which the OPW contract on our behalf. Generally, the agent (OPW) requires an advance by way of imprest from which to meet payments falling due on the contract. Such advances are recorded in suspense accounts until such time as the OPW certify that the works have been completed satisfactorily and payments have actually been disbursed by them. It is only at that stage, when actual payments have been made by the OPW, that the CSO brings the expenditure to account on the CSO vote. This practice is in accordance with the Public Financial Procedures. The CSO currently have €36,594.45 in advances with the OPW in respect of the supply and installation of a generator in Cork.

In addition, the Deputy may also wish to note that in respect of the OECD Review of the Irish Public Service, the Department has increased its contribution to the OECD on a once-off basis by €490,000, to be paid over two years — 2006 and 2007. It is expected that the Review will be completed and published early in 2008. This review has two main objectives: firstly, to benchmark the Public Service in Ireland against other comparable countries; and secondly, to make recommendations as to future directions for Public Service reform. Given that this is the first whole of Public Service Review undertaken by the OECD, the work is very extensive and requires developing new approaches and working methods. In order for the OECD to develop a holistic approach to reviewing the Public Service as an entity and to apply it in the first instance to Ireland, the Government has agreed to make an additional contribution towards the work of the OECD. It is expected that the Review will be completed and published early in 2008.

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