Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (165)

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

165. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 66 of 6 February 2014, if the organisations in receipt of funding from his Department are subject to a service level agreement containing a clause prohibiting the use of funding to change the law or Government policies, or prohibiting the use of funding to persuade persons to adopt a view on a law or public policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12052/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In the time available and with current resource constraints, it is not possible to examine all the arrangements and conditions in place in respect of those organisations receiving funding from my Department to determine whether the clauses referred to by the Deputy form a part of these arrangements. However, it is considered unlikely that funding conditionality would include explicit prohibitions such as those stated by the Deputy. In addition to the issue of the appropriateness of imposing such prohibitions, the question of effectively assessing compliance with them would arise.

As I advised in my reply of 6 February to an earlier question from the Deputy, the conditionality linked to receipt of Departmental funding generally requires compliance with a number of standard criteria, including: satisfying eligibility requirements of the scheme or programme in question; reporting of projected and actual expenditure; assessment of programme activities and impacts; and full receipting of income and expenditure, with independently audited accounts.

In relation to State bodies in particular, the 2009 Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies specifies the framework agreed by Government for the internal management and the internal and external reporting relationships of commercial and non-commercial State bodies. It also advises state bodies involved in service provision to develop service level agreements. While the Code does not specify particular clauses that are required to be included in such agreements, it requires State Bodies to serve the interests of the taxpayer, pursue value for money in their endeavours and act transparently as public entities.

If the Deputy wishes to table a further question regarding a specific aspect or specific recipient of Departmental funding I will arrange to have this considered.