Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (277)

Terence Flanagan


277. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the action she is taking to encourage more Irish executives to serve on State boards under the remit of her Department; her views on the recent Merc Partners survey; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12464/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection are the Citizens Information Board, the Pensions Board, the Pensions Ombudsman (which does not have a board) and the Social Welfare Tribunal.

Citizens Information Board

The procedures followed when appointing members to the Citizens Information Board are in accordance with the Revised Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies where Departments invite expressions of interest from members of the public for vacancies on the boards or bodies under their aegis. These new arrangements involve using a centralised application service provided by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to manage the expressions of interest received. Interested parties are required to submit an online application form, a self-assessment of their skills and/or experience in a number of identified competency areas, a curriculum vitae and a covering letter. The legislative provisions governing appointments are contained in the Comhairle Act 2000, the Citizens Information Act 2007 and the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011.

Pensions Board

The Pensions Act, 1990 (as amended) provides for the establishment of the Pensions Board and for the appointment of Board members. The Public Service Reform Programme provided for a critical review of the integration of the regulatory functions of the Pensions Board with the Financial Regulator and the merging of the Pensions Ombudsman with the Financial Services Ombudsman. The recommendations arising out of the Critical Review on the Pensions Board were approved by Government in April 2013 and were provided for in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2013.

It was recommended that the governance structure of the Pensions Board be restructured with two distinct arms as follows:

- Oversight of the Pensions Board will be undertaken by a three person body called the Pensions Authority. This will consist of a Chairperson and two officials from the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Finance.

- A separate unpaid Pensions Council, with a majority of members representing consumer interests, will be established to advise me on pensions policy.

I have appointed the Chairperson(s) of the Pensions Authority and the Pensions Council. I will be seeking expressions of interest for appointments to the Pensions Council through the Public Appointments Service.

Social Welfare Tribunal

Under the provisions of Social Welfare legislation, two members of the Tribunal’s Board are nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and two are nominated by the Irish Business and Employer’s Confederation. I must appoint the persons whose names are forwarded by the respective organisations. The Chairperson is sourced by the Department of Social Protection by way of a recommendation from the Labour Court with regard to a particular candidate’s suitability.