I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.
As the allocation for the vote of the Office of the Ombudsman includes the Ombudsman, the Standards in Public Office Commission and the Commission for Public Service Appointments, one cannot look at each in isolation and I will therefore respond to Questions Nos. 189, 190 and 191 collectively.
The Ombudsman, the Standards in Public Office Commission and the Commission for Public Service Appointments are funded through the Office of the Ombudsman Vote which comprises of 5 separate statutory bodies (the Office of the Ombudsman, the Standards in Public Office Commission, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Commissioner for Environmental information and the Commission for Public Service Appointments). The Management Team of the Office of the Ombudsman, which is headed by a Director General, has responsibility for the administration of all the component offices and comprises of senior management from all the various offices.
Annual submissions are made to my Department as part of the Estimates process, which outline the anticipated additional resourcing requirements likely to impact on the Vote during the following year. I am advised that The Director General and the Management Team regularly review the administrative workload and adequacy of staffing resources in each of the component offices. They subsequently decide on where resources can most usefully be allocated and staff can be transferred between the various offices.
During the course of the Estimates process for 2017 and 2018, the Office of the Ombudsman sought additional staffing resources for the extension of the Ombudsman's remit to cover Direct Provision and the resources that would be required if the remit of the Ombudsman was extended to cover complaints from prisoners. It also sought funding for an Assistant Legal Advisor at Assistant Principal level and an additional Assistant Principal whose responsibilities would include work on Strategic and Business Planning, Risk and Governance.
The Office also sought additional staffing resources for the conducting of investigations under the Ethics Acts and in anticipation of the commencement of enforcement provisions under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, both of which come under the Standards in Public Office Commission. It was further indicated that there would be additional resources required for the implementation of the provisions of the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015, but that they would be difficult to estimate.
There were no specific additional funding requirements for the CPSA included in the Estimates submissions for the Office of the Ombudsman for 2017 and 2018.
My Department consider requests for additional resources from these Offices collectively, in the context of the adequacy of the overall funding provision for the Office of the Ombudsman Vote, rather than consideration of requests individually.