Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Ceisteanna (229)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

229. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of requests for additional funding, staff resources or expertise that have been made by the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority since January 2016; the purpose of the requested additional funding, staff resources or expertise; the response of her Department to each request in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13137/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Regarding its financial resources, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s (CCPC) allocation is divided between “General Administration” and “Financial Information and Education Functions” expenditure. The first element covers the general administration and expenses of the CCPC in relation to the exercise of its statutory functions, except for its financial information and education functions, and these expenses are funded through an Exchequer grant each year. The second element is funded by a Levy imposed on regulated financial service providers. As the Levy is not collected until after mid-year, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation prefunds the expenditure by the CCPC on these functions, on the proviso that the Department is reimbursed by way of Appropriations-in-Aid before year end. It is therefore Exchequer neutral.

The CCPC’s combined allocations since 2015, its first full year since its establishment in October 2014, are set out in the following table:

 Year

Allocation (Exchequer and Levy)

Pay and non-pay

  ’000s 

Outturn

  ’000s

2015

2016

12,230

12,141

9,124

9,181

2017

2018

12,138

12,226

9,757

N/A

In July 2015, the CCPC was given approval by the Department under the Strategic Resource Management Framework to fill 25 vacant posts subject to the CCPC remaining within its allocated pay budget.

In August 2016, the CCPC requested an extra €2.438m proposing to cover, amongst other matters, once-off expenses arising from its planned move to new offices, once-off expenditure on new ICT systems, additional research and communications projects (€2.040m) and the costs associated with a simultaneous request for additional personnel (€398,000). As part of that request for additional funding, the CCPC requested 6 additional personnel viz. 3 Executive Officers in its Communications and Market Insights Division, one Assistant Principal in its Consumer Enforcement Division, one Higher Executive Officer in its Organisational Development Unit and one Executive Officer in its Regulation and Advocacy Unit. As the CCPC’s outturn for 2015 was less than the 2015 allocation and its expenditure in 2016 was estimated to come under the monies allocated to it for that year, its request of August 2016 for extra resources was not granted.

In July 2017, the CCPC requested an extra €235,000 in its non-pay Exchequer allocation to cover new projects arising in the areas of cyber security, research in relation to the Waste sector, Personal Contract Plans, Brexit and expenditure on the implementation of the Grocery Goods Regulations. This request was approved. Also in 2017, the CCPC requested one additional staff member (a Higher Executive Officer in its Legal Services Division) for which sanction was approved by my Department.

To date in 2018, the CCPC has requested 3 additional staff members (one Digital investigation specialist at Higher Executive Officer level, one temporary Assistant Principal post in its Legal Service Division and one Higher Executive Officer in its Legal Services Division). It has received sanction for the first two posts and my Department is currently considering the last request.

It should be noted that these figures do not include requests since 2016 for backfilling of vacancies due to resignations, promotions, transfers, retirements, etc. and neither does it refer to any request for the reconfiguration of grades in the CCPC.